In Warren St. John's Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer—a fascinating account of the lunacy that is University of Alabama football—the reporter recounts a conversation with a Mr. and Mrs. Reese in their $300,000 motor home, purchased exclusively to travel to Crimson Tide games. The couple, it turns out, had missed their daughter's wedding because it fell on the same day as the Alabama-Tennessee game. They said they had managed to make the reception, and noted that they had asked their daughter not to schedule the wedding so as to conflict with the big game. Asked why he did it, Mr. Reese could only shake his head and respond: "I just love Alabama football, is all I can think of."

If the Reeses' behavior qualified them for sport fanatics award of the century, surely the son of a Philadelphia woman deserves honorable mention. During a 2005 Philadelphia Eagles—Green Bay Packers game, the man ran onto the field, leaving behind a trail of powder coming from a plastic bag he was carrying. Police learned later that the powder was the ashes of his mother, an ardent Eagles fan. "She'll always be a part of Lincoln Financial Field and of the Eagles," the man told police.

Extreme examples, perhaps. But both are rooted in the same passion that drives spectators to paint their faces with team colors, wear bizarre hats, and engage in the collective delirium that one philosopher has called "too close to the religious to call it anything else." Alumni signal their loyalty by flying their alma mater flags on their front porches and plastering the family car with team logos. And now the truly loyal can arrange for their final rest to be in coffins adorned with their college team's ...

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February 2010

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