Born Fanatic: My Life in the Grip of the NFL

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Born Fanatic: My Life in the Grip of the NFL is a memoir from late professional football coach and hall-of-famer Mike McCormack’s son, Michael. It details his early life, how his father became violent whenever the team he was coaching lost a game, how things improved, and how his family moved around based on wherever his father managed to get work.

Because his family life revolved so much around his father, Michael grew up without a whole lot of direction. His life was a constant struggle to get out from under the shadow of his father. Rather than frame the memoir as a struggle with his dad, which, at its core, was what the story was about, Michael takes issue with the NFL’s brand of addictive fandom. When fans cheered Ray Rice after his domestic violence incident in 2014, he recalled his father’s abuse particularly vividly. The NFL doesn’t sell football to fans, he says late in the book, the NFL sells fans to marketers. He makes the argument that rather than serve itself and its shareholders, the NFL should serve football and society at large and take on initiatives that would solve all of the problems football creates so that players don’t have to.

While Michael is not the most interesting person in his own memoir, he offers a unique insider perspective as someone who must live with a famous family member. However, if you ask most sports fans, they would not want to have a famous coach as their dad, and they would be able to articulate the many potential troubles having a famous father would cause them. In that way, his story is largely predictable.

Readers who have been lifelong fans of any football team will understand some of Michael’s point of view, but as far as having a moderately famous coaching father, very few people will be able to relate. Still, Michael makes his story approachable to others with his conversational tone. Older fans who remember the NFL in the late 20th century will probably recall the historical details of this memoir, and feel a sense of nostalgia if they were big enough football fanatics.


Reviewed By:

Author Michael McCormack
Star Count 3/5
Format Trade
Page Count 200 pages
Publisher Michael McCormack
Publish Date 2018-Apr-24
ISBN 9780999678008
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue October 2018
Category Sports & Outdoors
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