“This is Your Brain on Sports: The Science of Underdogs, The Value of Rivalry and What We Can Learn from the T-Shirt Cannon” by L. Jon Wertheim and Sam Sommers
February 2, 2016
4 ½ of 5 stars (Excellent)
After seeing this book’s title, it was one that I knew I had to read. Like me, one might ask what the heck CAN we learn from the T-Shirt cannon that shoots cheap shirts into the stands where groups of screaming fans may push and shove each other in order to grab that precious piece of cloth.
That question, along with many others, are answered in this very entertaining book by Sports Illustrated executive editor L. Jon Wertheim and experimental psychologist Sam Sommers. Interspersing serious discussion of the function of the mind during certain situations along with many sports anecdotes which are often hilarious, the book will help explain why certain beliefs in sports either live on despite evidence to the contrary (such as if having sex just before a sporting event will sap an athlete’s strength and stamina) or are certainly true (hockey enforcers certainly do prefer to fight on home ice instead of on the road).
Something I really enjoyed about the book is that nearly every sport is covered in some way and so many stars – from Tom Brady to Serena Williams to Mookie Wilson are mentioned. The latter was in one of the most interesting chapters that discusses a web site where ordinary people can sign up for events like having Mookie Wilson speak at a bar mitzvah or Rob Gronkoski rub elbows with guests at your barbecue. All for a nominal fee, of course. Each of these stories, along with the explanation of just what triggers these beliefs, make this book a very good read for any sports fan.
I wish to thank Crown Archtype Publishing for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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