What drives 'normal' people to loot, fight and even kill in the name of their favorite team? ESPN producer Justine Gubar spent years trying to find out, interviewing experts and researching some of the sports world's deadliest protests and celebrations. Her conclusion: it's a potent mix of alcohol (which flows freely at stadiums), adrenaline (after watching violent combat), perceived anonymity (it's easy to blend into a crowd wearing the same team jerseys) and psychology (studies suggest fans who commit riotous acts are more likely to have rooted their identities in their sports teams). The simplest trigger, however, might be loyalty. After all, the term fan derives from the Latin fanaticus, denoting deep religious devotion.
In her new book, Fanaticus: Mischief and Madness in the Modern Sports Fan, Justine Gubar, an ESPN Outside the Lines producer, examines unruly fan behavior worldwide. She questions whether the Internet and rising ticket prices have created fan 'entitlement' where violence toward opposing teams, players, media, referees and fellow fans flourishes.
The trolls came out in full force to attack Justine Gubar. She was less than a prostitute, they told her. They published her home phone number on the internet. They skewered her physical appearance. All this from the Ohio State fan base because she was reporting on the scandal that eventually led to the resignation of the school’s head football coach Jim Tressel. Gubar, an Emmy-award winning investigative journalist at ESPN, used this experience as the starting point in her recently released book Fanaticus: Mischief and Madness In the Modern Sports Fan. The book is a deeply reported, fast-paced read delving into the psychology, sociology, history and future of sports fans’ behavior. It has the outrageous fan anecdotes you know and plenty of others that you probably can’t believe actually exist. There is also the cringe-worthy, awkward interaction when Gubar knocked on the door of one of the Ohio State fans who had sent abuse her way. If you’ve ever attended a sporting event – be it a youth game or something in the pro ranks – Fanaticus will tell you more about your experience.
In Fanaticus, Gubar (a producer for ESPN) provides a systematic examination of one of the most chaotic elements of sportany level of sportthe fans! She looks at the history and culture of fandom and provides current examples that show how fan behavior can both reflect and influence contemporary culture. This book will sadden, shock, or even cause fear in some readersan experience they will share with athletes, analysts, reports, and referees who have encountered obsessive fans. Is this book a sad testament on contemporary culture? Perhaps. Is it a call for understanding fanatical fan behavior so that something positive can be done about it? Absolutely. The most important chapter may be ‘The Voice of the Fan,’ which explores how social media impact fans' expression of their obsessions. In the introduction, Gubar sets the scene, explaining why she wrote the book and how she went about it: ‘Printed on the flip side of my business card is our corporate mission: To serve sports fans. Anytime. Anywhere. But here’s the paradox: While we exalt the passion of sports fans, we must also face the dangerous and dark side of their behavior.’ Indeed. A fascinating and important read. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers.
Justine Gubar has written a most unusual sports book. Her research is thorough, her writing is precise, and the end result is a book that will keep you thoroughly engaged. Get Fanaticus now and thank me later.
Fanaticus: Mischief and Madness in the Modern Sports Fan: by Justine Gubar. Fans are nuts. Plain and simple. And Gubar takes us on an incredible ride of what fans will do for the teams and athletes they love. Okay, they also will do things because they have been drinking way too much at a game or because they hate the other team or whatever. Bottom line – read this book. You’ll sit there gasping as many times as I did because you just can’t believe the stupidity of some people.
In Fanaticus, Justine Gubar takes the reader on an unforgettable exploration of the least understood, least appreciated andoccasionallyleast defensible facet of our sports-soaked culture: the fans. Gubar skillfully peels back layer after layer of our fandomthe good, the bad and the ugly, from Pope John Paul II to beer brawls to burning couches and much worseto explain why we care so much, and what happens when we do. Along the way, Gubar expels myths, digs up surprising truths, and explains a lot about human nature itself. The ride is equal parts fun and frightening, but always fascinating. After Fanaticus, you will never be able to look at your games, and the people who love them, the same way.
Fanaticus is a riveting, well-researched look at one of the most interesting topics in sports today: the behaviorand misbehaviorof the modern sports fan. In her new book, Justine Gubarexpertly leads usto an important national conversation about fans in the 21st century. Her timing is perfect. As sportsbecome an even bigger part of our culture,the story of obsessed sports fans grows in importance by the day.
Fanaticus explores a place too-often ignored in sports reportingthe seamy world of miscreant fans. Justine Gubar’s powers of observation, combined with her reporting skills, make her the perfect tour guide.
Justine Gubar's fearless brand of investigative journalism at ESPN has placed her in the crosshairs of many angry mobs who didn't want to know the truth about their favorite teams and players. That experience in the belly of the fan beast makes her the ideal author for this kind of bookshe's been there and withstood that, and emerged with a great understanding of what makes the American sports fan tick. From her startling and disturbing first-hand experiences to an overview of fan behavior, she captures the essence of a fascinating societal niche in Fanaticus: Mischief and Madness in the Modern Sports Fan. For anyone who has ever gone to a game and wondered why the person next to them is behaving like a lunatic, this book helps provide the answer.
Sports is the great tent where society gathersit’s where we cheer, it’s where we hope, it’s where we find common ground, and unfortunately, it’s also where some choose to get angry or even violent. Justine Gubar does a remarkable job unmasking the breadth and depth of sports fanaticism, and explaining how devotion can turn into obsession, and even into danger. Fascinating readplus, how do you not love a book which has a first chapter called “And Then We Burn a Couch”?
WithFanaticus, Justine Gubaroffers a fascinating glimpse into the psyche and history of sport’s lunatic fringefrom the fans who placed curses on rival chariot racers at Circus Maximus to the Ohio State faithful who practically stalked Gubar for investigating their beloved Buckeyes. Part personal exploration and part case study, Fanaticus transports readersdeep intothe world of sports fandom.
This is an important and engaging work. In Fanaticus,Justine Gubar takes us inside the phenomenon of emotionally overheated fan misbehavior. It’s a trip you will not forget.
The life of a sports fan is an evolving one. One that has roots in overzealous passion. And one that has seen its passion take a dark turn into violence and crime. Justine Gubar does a phenomenal job of traveling the globe and shedding light on these fanatics, so that we can read about them, safely from our couches.
This book starts as a journey into the strange world of sports fandom and quickly becomes a journey into the myth of civilization, unwinding and uncovering the purest essence of ourselves and leading, ultimately, to a few simple truths: Love and hate are the same thing, and we all merely animals living on a rock.
Justine Gubar was a splendid ESPN producer who went to Ohio, did some investigating and got some vile voicemails and emails. Now she’s a splendid ESPN producer who has been from Antwerp to Albuquerque and back to antiquity for this vital tour of our human lunacy.
Combining the curiosity of a hard-charging investigator with the heart of a superb storyteller, Justine Gubar has written a fantastic book about fandom that will surprise and delight you. By tracing the roots of fans’ extreme behavior, from the mobs at the Roman Coliseum to the mobs now bellowing on social media platforms, Fanaticus will change how you view the way we cheer, boo, root and fight over our belovedteams. I love this book.
Compelling. Powerful. Definitive. A must-read for anyone seeking a broader understanding of the nucleus of sports culturethe fanagainst the larger backdrop of society. Thoroughly researched through a wide lens, this enlightening treatise starts strong and finishes strong...with so much thought-provoking material in between.