Fans: How Watching Sports Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Understanding

Algonquin. Mar. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781616208462. $25.95. SPORTS
In his latest book, award-winning journalist Olmsted (Real Food/Fake Food) takes a deep dive into sports fandom and considers the psychological benefits of being a fan. To explore fandom, Olmsted visits sports bars across the United States and talks with a number of psychologists about how sports fans are studied as well as the mental health benefits and feeling of belonging that people can experience as fans of a particular team or sport. Additionally, the author cites studies that show how sports fandom has helped people overcome or better navigate personal loss. Notably, Olmsted writes about fans using sports to cope with tragedies following 9/11 and the 2017 Las Vegas shooting. Even though it is evident he spent a lot of time researching this book, Olmted writes accessibly, and his work will engage readers of all ages. Throughout, there are quotes from notable sports fans, such as Barack Obama and Bryant Gumbel, along with occasional fun illustrations. This fast-paced read has specific examples of the positive impact sports fandom can have on lives.
VERDICT While there have been other books written about fandom, this is a quick read that even casual fans of sports may enjoy.
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