Against Football: One Fans Reluctant Manifesto


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None of that will happen. The more compelling question, then, is how the seduced were taken: Just what has this game got on us? The author trots out some not very original ideas on football as mock combat. Maybe men enjoy and bond watching other men lay each other out, because they "experience vicarious feelings of dominance. What's their problem? Soon, though, Almond gets to some keener reasons for the game's grasp. To begin with, "the action is simple enough to appeal to a child, the strategy dense enough to engage men of learning.

He gets it right, and offers some of his most eloquent language, when looking back on his own fall for football: "What kept me hooked was the limbic tingle familiar to any fan, the sense that I was watching an event that mattered. Ultimately, though, one consequence looms disturbingly large: the game's violence and dangers, intrinsic to its appeal. Almond astutely breaks down a stadium crowd's reaction to a player getting "jacked up'' sustaining a vicious hit as "an involuntary exclamation that combines shock, distress, and delight in about equal measures. In one telling passage Almond and his sources discuss football's "rich narrative structure'' and dramatic potential.

Early 20th century sportswriter Heywood Broun compared the quarterback's signals to "preliminary exposition. Then the plot thickens. The players — the protagonists and antagonists — show great courage as well as skill on every play. The excitement of this Sunday storytelling is intensified in brief minute chapters, outcomes revealed in just 17 regular-season episodes. And, Almond concludes, "the physical risks create a higher grade of drama. This game is so thrillingly good and wildly bad it fires neurons and cuts through complacency, even in a jaded era. Football's reality show is live, unscripted and saturated in conflict.

From this story and spectacle, fans are not likely to turn away; such is our hunger for our hunger game.


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John Capouya teaches journalism and nonfiction writing at the University of Tampa. Manage my subscription Activate my subscription Subscribe Log in Log out. Special Reports. No thinking fan will view the game or the Steve Almond writes about why he is still a football fan, but no longer a fan who watches football. No thinking fan will view the game or the shills for the game in the same way. Sep 22, Paige Illegal in 3 Countries rated it it was ok. See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten! Not too long ago, I took a course at my university that would have taken me to a three-day writing conference had I not been forced to drop out at the last second, but one unusual thing about it was that the course required you read three books of your choice from a list of twenty-five.

Against Football was on the list because Almond was going to be at the conference. His is the Oakland Raiders, mine is the Jacksonville Jaguars. I wanted someone to justify my criticisms of how the NFL treats female fans and fails to discipline players for harming or even killing their spouses. Stop right now and go look up Rae Carruth. He had his pregnant girlfriend killed, took part in her murder, and went on the run when she died.

He was caught a month later, at which time the Carolina Panthers finally kicked him off the team. I get really emotional about that case. This is only the beginning of the issues Against Football has. The only cases of sexual assault examined in detail or even mentioned are those of Jameis Winston at FSU and the football players in Steubenville. Domestic abuse and outright murder are ignored entirely. Apparently, it only counts if a football player directly does the assaulting and not if someone high up in the hierarchy of a football program abuses their position of privilege to victimize others.

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Almond focuses too much on the micro in this area and not enough on the macro. He does a decent job of talking about racism, but Almond needs to check himself there too. How funny he spends so much time talking about CTE and never mentions Dr. Bennet Omalu once. Omalu is the Nigerian doctor who discovered CTE and led a nation to question the effects and treatment of head injuries in football.

At the very least, Almond is committing a racial microaggression through his omission.

If he wants to do some armchair psychoanalysis of football players and fans alike to understand why they love a game so violent and unwilling to police itself in regards to its players, he can do that too. Against Football is a published work of analytical nonfiction. I took a course with the same professor the next semester and Almond came up every other class.


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Creepy stuff. This was pretty good--it's about the many reasons why we as a culture should abandon football, or at least make some serious changes to the game and how it's funded.

Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto | Library Journal

He covers how football uses taxpayer funds as subsidy, brain injury, violence, exploitation of Black players, and rape culture and how the Athletic Industrial Complex works to cover it all up in the name of capitalism. View all 3 comments. Jun 20, jeremy rated it really liked it Shelves: gen-nonfiction. View all 5 comments.

Customer Reviews

This book is not nearly as one-sided as the title would imply. I almost wish it had a different title so that I could gift it to friends and family who are fans. As it stands, it would immediately raise their hackles. Steve Almond is an ardent football fan but he is more self aware than most. In this slim volume short audio he examines his love of the sport and what brought him to this point while fully examining the perils and pitfalls and most importantly, offering concrete suggestions for ho This book is not nearly as one-sided as the title would imply.

In this slim volume short audio he examines his love of the sport and what brought him to this point while fully examining the perils and pitfalls and most importantly, offering concrete suggestions for how the structure of the sport can be improved not eliminated. Chris Borland's resignation from the San Francisco 49'ers this week, concurrent with my reading of this book, could not have come at a better time to drive home Almond's points. I urge you to pick this up with an open mind Sep 14, Jason Jordan rated it really liked it.

A lifelong Oakland Raiders fan, Steve Almond makes several compelling arguments as to why football or, as he puts it, the "Athletic Industrial Complex" oftentimes does more harm than good. He considers various angles from which to approach and evaluate the sport--health, economics, race, etc. As a casual fan, who watches some of the games on TV but doesn't attend them no A lifelong Oakland Raiders fan, Steve Almond makes several compelling arguments as to why football or, as he puts it, the "Athletic Industrial Complex" oftentimes does more harm than good.

As a casual fan, who watches some of the games on TV but doesn't attend them nor buy any merch, I can't say Against Football convicts me enough to forgo doing that. I suppose, in other words, that I'm willing to overlook the game's problems in favor of my own gratification. Still, this is a thought-provoking, enjoyable read. For more information, I suggest watching this interview with Almond about the book and sport. Sep 30, Justin Tapp rated it it was ok Shelves: sports , psychology. In A. This event occurred long before football, modern capitalism, marketing, or television -- which itself cuts into Almond's thesis.

Almond does not mention this event or other historical events, In A.

Almond does not mention this event or other historical events, and this ignorance really hurts some of his arguments-- that the modern passion of violent sports is primarily an American male response to his social surroundings and stimulated by American-style capitalism, marketing, and television.

Against Football: One Fans Reluctant Manifesto Against Football: One Fans Reluctant Manifesto
Against Football: One Fans Reluctant Manifesto Against Football: One Fans Reluctant Manifesto
Against Football: One Fans Reluctant Manifesto Against Football: One Fans Reluctant Manifesto
Against Football: One Fans Reluctant Manifesto Against Football: One Fans Reluctant Manifesto
Against Football: One Fans Reluctant Manifesto Against Football: One Fans Reluctant Manifesto
Against Football: One Fans Reluctant Manifesto Against Football: One Fans Reluctant Manifesto

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