"Fresh and funny - St. John has crafter a winner." -Tony Horwitz, author of Confederates in the Attic In the life of every sports fan, there comes a moment of reckoning. It may happen when your team wins on a last-second field goal and you suddenly find yourself clenched in a loving embrace with a large hairy man you've never met. . . . Or in the long, hormonally depleted days after a loss, when you're felled by a sensation similar to the one you first experienced following the death of a pet. At such moments the fan is forced to confront the question others' spouses, friends, children, and colleagues' have asked for years: Why do I care What is it about sports that turns otherwise sane, rational people into raving lunatics Why does winning compel people to tear down goalposts, and losing, to drown themselves in bad keg beer In short, why do fans care In search of the answers to these questions, Warren St.
St. John, a New York Times reporter and native Alabaman, explores the nature of extreme sports fandom in this compelling and funny audiobook. Over the course of five months, St. John follows the University of Alabama's football team in his own RV and connects with the "RV culture," fans for whom game day is simply the focal point of a celebration that can last for days. Some of the fans he encounters are indeed extreme-like the couple that skipped their daughter's wedding because it took place on game day, or the man who risks having his name taken off a heart transplant list, declaring "If I can't go to Alabama football games, what's the point in living " But St. John's focus is less on these eccentric characters than on the general culture, in which football fetishism has been completely integrated into everyday life. St. John has a pronounced lisp, which is jarring at first, but it quickly becomes endearing. And while his character voices all sound like variations on the loud-dumb-Southern-guy theme, he approaches his narration with the gusto and enthusiasm of a fervent fan, which succeeds in getting listeners into the spirit of this fun, insightful tale. Simultaneous release with the Crown hardcover (Forecasts, June 14). (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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August 02, 2004
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Excerpt from Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer by Warren St. John
Does anyone know where I might be able to locate a pic of the New Bama Logo I want a pic large enough to print and use for a tattoo that would be about 6 to 7 inches tall. Bulletin board post from Ed Hames, aka "Bamafanforlife"
So I have a mission, but there are certain logistical issues I have to work out. How exactly does one join an RV caravan I could always simply show up at the parking lot of the first game of the season, against Vanderbilt in Nashville, and impose myself. I have a trump card in the form of that photograph of Bear Bryant and me, which I figure for Alabama fans might act as a kind of press pass to the soul. There is another strategy more enticing than simply crashing the party: trying to get invited to it, on someone else's RV. But resolving to get invited aboard a stranger's motor home and actually getting invited, I learn in short order, are two very different things. Absent an attempt to track down a specific RV like the Reeses', I find that in the summer months it's oddly difficult to locate any RV-ers at all. The RVs that fill the highways and stadium lots in the fall seem to disappear without a trace in the warmer months, perhaps parked by their owners in backyards in a kind of inverse hibernation, or perhaps driven out west to tour the national parks. There are no Alabama fan motor home associations to contact; there is no Bama RV Club. Perhaps the whole point of RV-ing is to disconnect from the grid to chase after one's passions; to such people, the inability to be organized or even found could be a kind of virtue. So I go to the one place where even the least organized and most elusive people are sure to have a presence: the Internet.
There are literally hundreds of Alabama fan sites TiderInsider.com, BamaMag.com, BamaOnline.com are the biggest, along with countless personal pages, the cyberspace equivalent of bumper stickers, where fans declare their love of the team for anyone who happens to click by. None, though, are devoted to RV-ers. I sign up for an e-mail listserv called Bamafan, a kind of live wire into the collective unconsciousness of Alabama fans, and within minutes of my signing up, e-mails begin to appear in my mailbox at a machine-gun rate from people with names like Bamadog, Krymsonman, Crimson Jim, and the Alabama Slamma. I've tuned in to to a kind of philosophical debate: Are there any circumstances under which it is permissible for an Alabama fan to pull for Tennessee A fan named Tommy e-mails the group that when a Tennessee win would benefit Alabama, he actually finds himself humming "Rocky Top," the Tennessee fight song.
"You certainly don't know what it's like to really hate Tennessee if you pull for them AT ALL," a poster named Tiderollin' responds. "I'd cheer for Florida, Auburn, Notre Dame, Russia, and the University of Hell before the words 'rocky top' would ever come out of my mouth."
I send the group an e-mail of my own explaining my mission and asking, with the sort of straight-forwardness I expect someone like Tiderollin' might appreciate, if anyone would be willing to offer me berth aboard a motor home. Within a few hours, responses begin to trickle in. A woman replies offering to tell me the story of how she came to have the word Bama tattooed on her leg. Another offers the use of some photographs he thinks might go well in a book about Alabama fans.