Saturday, March 11, 2017

FenwayNation Book Review: 'Diehards' by Chip Scarinzi

One of the most complex of human relationships is the one between people and their favorite sports teams. Some of us go overboard from time to time—like Rod Stewart's anthropomorphic song "You're In My Heart" about a soccer team for goodness sakes! Thankfully, most of us keep it under control—sort of. Chip Scarinzi's book 'Diehards' takes a fascinating look at this phenomenon, probing the psychological, sociological and anthropological roots of rabid fandom. Don't worry, it's not like that. In fact, it's a humorous and very readable tale of how our brains get to the point of—for example—really caring about Pablo Sandoval's weight (even if he doesn't). So, why do we do this "fan thing" (as Kay Corleone might put it)? The thing that makes Scarinzi's well-researched book so entertaining is that he answers this question through personal stories of actual diehards—real people we can recognize as friends and even (dare we say) ourselves. Scarinzi analyzes the delicate balance between the exhilaration of long-sought victory and the angst of prolonged failure (can you hear me, Red Sox fans?). And, perhaps more importantly, he examines the impact of that equation on overall psychological well-being. Even the book's foreword will make Red Sox fans smile—written by a guy (Josh Pahigian) who dreamed of one day playing third base for The Carmine Hose. When Scarinzi writes about a crushing A's defeat and how Oakland fans hearken back to a moment of glory to ease their pain—it's very familiar to Red Sox fans. After all, we swooned over Pudge Fisk's 1975 HR even in the wake of the 1986 debacle. Fittingly, the A's glory moment (against the Yankees in the 2006 playoffs) involved a guy who went on to play for the Red Sox—Marco Scutaro. The bottom line is, Red Sox fans (and all baseball fans) will love this book—and it might just get you to do some some self-examination. You can purchase the book from HERE.