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The Secret Lives of Sports Fans Hardcover – April 4, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook Hardcover (April 4, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590208641
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590208649
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #896,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

If sports fandom were charted on a bell curve, the indifferent would occupy one end, with the seriously obsessed on the other. Author Simons is interested in the seriously obsessed side of the curve, and here he reports on the surprisingly extensive research done on the psychology of being a fan. Sports as empathy—how closely fans identify with their teams—receives considerable attention, as does sports as love, something very different from romantic love. It isn’t lust and it isn’t romance. Other questions are equally provocative. Can sports be truly addictive? Do they provide a group dynamic otherwise unavailable in our increasingly isolated society, particularly in our new social-media world? How about sports as a substitute for war? Simons examines research that explores all these possible dynamics, and, if hard conclusions are generally lacking, he does provide a fascinating glimpse into why sports culture is what it is. Sports fans will find this a powerful tool for self-examination. --Wes Lukowsky

Review

"Simons is open and patient to intelligent theories but skeptical and willing to trust in his own experiences. He is also a bit of a tempered hepcat ... informal amid all the lab work and theory building, yet diligently fashioning a window through which to witness the arch of human emotions and, surprisingly, the degree of choice and control we possess over those emotions.
An intriguing ride through "all the wondrous quirks and oddities in human nature."" -Kirkus Reviews

"Weaving interviews with researchers with his own experiences in stadiums and barrooms, the author succeeds in making some pretty dense subject matter accessible. ... The work stands as a convincing argument that, for many people, their relationship with their chosen team is the most complicated and rewarding one in their lives." -Maclean's

"Eric Simons is the perfect play-by-play announcer for this event, for the simple reason that, as an avid fan himself, he has skin in the game—as well as genes and nerves and dopamine receptors. Simons has a gift for explaining the serious science of sport without losing the edge-of-your-seat thrill and raging despair of the game. Red Barber, eat your pericardium out."--Russ Rymer, author of Paris Twilight
 
"[Simons] provides a fascinating glimpse into why sports culture is what it is. Sports fans will find this a powerful tool for self-examination." --Booklist

More About the Author

Eric Simons writes about science, sports, and nature. In the Secret Lives of Sports Fans (2013), he investigates the scientific roots of a universal passion, and turns up some curious aspects of human nature taking place in the bleachers. His first book, Darwin Slept Here (2009) combines history, biography, travel adventure, and ostrich recipes to tell the story of Charles Darwin's four years in South America. He lives in San Francisco.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think this review will come up with my husband's name, but I'm a female/a mom - and I RECOMMEND this book.

I enjoyed Simons' book and throughout kept applying the research and information to people I know and love (and sometimes to myself). But, today I realized that I actually learned something about myself after reading the book. The Golden State Warriors are in the second round of the playoffs with San Antonio. We had to be away mid-day so we DVR'd the game. Knowing this I spent the whole 4th quarter (and - spoiler alert - overtime) switching seats, pretending not to be watching, and reading into how much longer there was on the "tape"...

Today is Mother's Day and I watched or listened to three different games (2 baseball and this BBall game)... guess this book was meant for me! (and here I thought it was meant for my husband, my dad, and his dad!)

Read the book - read the WHOLE book - you will know yourself, and others, better -- and be really happy you did!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By elissa mondschein on March 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book and learned a lot about myself, not just as a fan, but as a person. Much of what Simons talks about relates equally well to political junkies, in addition to situations which boil down to "us" and "them," like racism and national pride.
Like an earlier reviewer, I am a longtime Mets fan and this book helped me understand why I stick with the team after so many dismal years, even after moving out of New York in the late '70s. It also gave me things to think about in the world at large. Its well written and easy to read. My only complaint is about the publication, not Simons' actual work. Simons cites other books and articles, but there is no bibliography at the end. I would have like this so that I could better follow through and read the other material he mentions. This is a small point, though, and I still give this book five stars.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By SF SR on May 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
A combination of research and entertainment -- it's a terrific read. I kept saying --- that's my father-in-law -- that's my brother.... intuitive, thought provoking, and enlightening.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
We found this book to be excellent in terms of research backing for any assertions about sports fans. This is a must read for sports researchers.
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