Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer, by Warren St. John
Are there really people who would miss their own daughter's wedding to go to a football game? If you know anything about Alabama football fanaticism, you know the answer is, "Of course!" followed immediately by "Roll Tide!"
Warren St. John, an Alabama native who writes for the New York Times, spent five months up close and personal with the RV crowd that follows 'Bama football in a giant, migrating horde. Before the season was out, St. John was the proud owner of "The Hawg," a dilapidated, gas-guzzling RV whose best feature was a Crimson Tide tire cover. He had driven all over the South, and he'd mingled with the entire spectrum of aging frat brothers, former Southern belles, and good ol' boys who really mean it when they say they live for Alabama football. He'd also made friends with a ticket broker, gotten kicked out of a press box, and learned far more than he ever wanted to know about maintaining a moribund RV with a leaky sewage tank, dubious wiring, and a bent front axle.
St. John describes football games with deft ease, making them come alive as much for those who know little about the game as for those who do. He also follows the scandal-torn career of Alabama's embattled coach and some of the team's star players. He gets to know a sports columnist and talk-radio host so universally despised by 'Bama fans that he has to live in a gated community. He meets a man who needs a heart transplant but gives up his place on the recipient list in order not to miss a game. And he really does find a couple who missed their daughter's wedding, although they did manage to make the reception.
Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer (the chorus of an Alabama victory song) makes for five hours of excellent road trip listening. Read by the author, it is not only the story of a unique odyssey into sports lunacy, it offers thoughtful and provocative commentary on American culture.