Sunday, January 26, 2014

Super Bowl Fever @ the Armacost Library

What will you be doing on Sunday, February 2, 2014? For the second year in a row, I'll be stricken with Super Bowl Fever. Although I'd always thought this could never happen to me, Super Bowl Fever, or simply a love of football could strike you or your loved ones at any time. Do you have the fever? Symptoms can include a rapid heartbeat, restlessness, sudden outbursts, increased appetite, feelings of impending doom and feelings of exhilaration.

Did you know that this country also held a kind of disinterest in the sport at one time? Michael MacCambridge talks about how America grew into their love of the sport in his book America's Game. According to MacCambridge, good management and marketing, along with the rise of television, played a role in football's rise in popularity among Americans. In The Man Who Built the National Football League, Chris Willis attributes much of football's success to one of the NFL's founding fathers, Joe F. Carr. Carr established the foundations of professional football as a big-city sport during his reign as NFL President in the 20's and 30's. Andy Piascik also covers this time period, but his book Gridiron Gauntlet gives voice to 12 African-American men who played football amid the backdrop of segregation.

In Football and Philosophy, editor Michael W. Austin asks readers to take a step back from the game and turn their gaze within. Austin challenges his readers to consider why we're drawn to the sport in the first place, and what that might reveal about who we are and what we value. For those of us with more of a statistical or gambing bent, read Mathletics by Wayne L. Winston. You'll be interested in Part 3, which includes chapters "What makes NFL teams win?" "If passing is better than running, why don't teams always pass?" "Should we go for a one- point or two-point conversion?" "Why is the NFL's overtime system fatally flawed?" And "How valuable are high draft picks in the NFL?"

If you're prefer to read articles on your favorite teams or players, visit the OmniFile Full Text Mega database. With subject headings for teams, players, coaches, and other topics related to football, you'll be able to target your searches and retrieve more relevant results than if you'd conducted keyword (default) searches. For example, a search for the words "peyton" and "manning" returns 233 results (see above), yet a subject search for "manning, peyton, 1976-" returns 115 results (see below).

If you're wondering how I knew the precise subject heading for Manning, let me explain that I didn't know what it was; I had to look for it. I started first with a keyword search which resulted in 233 search results, and looked under the "Refine Results" column (see above) for any subjects related to Manning and saw the image below.

Want to learn another trick? Below "Subject" is a list of publications included in your list of results. I noticed that the New York Times and Sports Illustrated published most of the articles included in my search results. If I wanted to look at either title directly, I could visit the library's home page, click on the "Journals & Magazines" tab and check for full-text access by running two searches--once for online access, once for physical or print access. 

Now that you've got your football and library gear ready, I'll see you at kickoff!

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