Superfans: Into the Heart of Obsessive Sports Fandom by George Dorhmann

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Superfans go a step beyond regular fans—they organize fan groups, dress up in elaborate costumes, or lead an entire stadium in a cheer. George Dorhmann presents superfans from across the country to help readers understand the nature of and motivation for sports fandom. Through interviews as well as academic research, Dorhmann discusses the way fandom offers participants an identity, rituals, and a community.

The most interesting chapters cover topics such as the interplay of religion and sports, the relationship between fans and players, and the role parents have in turning their children into avid, if not rabid sports fans. He profiles a Texas pastor who uses sports “as a tool to bring kids closer to Christ,” but points out how sports often supplants religion, both in fans’ hearts and in their social connections.

While greater discussion on fandom’s ties to nationalism, gender, or race would have been welcome, this readable book offers food for thought regarding the place of sports in our lives. (Ballantine)

About the Author

Otto Selles teaches French at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Mich., and attends Neland Avenue Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids.