"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. John seeks out the roving community of RVers who follow the Alabama Crimson Tide from game to game across the South. A movable feast of Weber grills, Igloo coolers, and die-hard superstition, these are characters who arrive on Wednesday for Saturday’s game: Freeman and Betty Reese, who skipped their own daughter’s wedding because it coincided with a Bama game; Ray Pradat, the Episcopalian minister who watches the games on a television set beside his altar while performing weddings; John Ed (pronounced as three syllables, John Ay-ud), the wheeling and dealing ticket scalper whose access to good seats gives him power on par with the governor; and Paul Finebaum, the Anti-Fan, a wisecracking sports columnist and talk-radio host who makes his living mocking Alabama fans—and who has to live in a gated community for all the threats he receives in response.
In no time at all, St. John himself is drawn into the world of full-immersion fandom: he buys an RV (a $5,500 beater called The Hawg) and joins the caravan for a football season, chronicling the world of the extreme fan and learning that
in the shadow of the stadium, it can all begin to seem strangely normal.
Along the way, St. John takes readers on illuminating forays into the deep roots of humanity’s sports mania (did you know that tailgaters could be found in eighth-century Greece?), the psychology of crowds, and the surprising neuroscience behind the thrill of victory.
Reminiscent of Confederates in the Attic and the works of Bill Bryson, Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer is not only a travel story, but a cultural anthropology of fans that goes a long way toward demystifying the universal urge to take sides and to win.
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|Title of eBook: Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer|
|Release Date: 08-10-2004|
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|Publisher: Crown Publishing Group|
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Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer
Chapter OneHallways on Wheels
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...