– With the Super Bowl just over the horizon, sportswriter Rafi Kohan will speak at the Flemington Jewish Community Center about his new book, The Arena: Inside the Monuments of American Sport, on Sunday, January 28, at 1 pm. Kohan will give insights into what goes on behind the scenes of our most treasured stadiums, from the U.S Bank Stadium—site of the upcoming Super Bowl—to Chicago’s legendary Wrigley Field. He delves into the stadiums’ secrets to find out just what makes them tick—and what keeps us coming back time and time again. The book, signed by the author, will be available for purchase. To attend, please register on the web at conta.cc/2E80sp2 or call 908-782-6410. The admission fee is $10 per person.
In his research for the book, Kohan delved into archives to uncover the often-punishing realities of how stadiums are built, from architectural ambition to controversial funding and political strong-arming. He also finagled access to the unexpected corners and hidden corridors of our most frequented fields. From what he found, he has many intriguing and amusing stories to tell about the behind-the-scenes logistics and deeply ingrained traditions within these bustling facilities. With enthusiasm and wit, he cracks open a secret world of unforgettable characters—groundskeepers, mascots, halftime performers—who work tirelessly to make the live event worth the price of admission. If you’ve ever wondered how they coordinate those fighter jet flyovers with the national anthem, how many hot dogs they serve in a day at Citi Field, how boozy pregame tailgates are kept in line, or what on earth AstroTurf is made of, Rafi Kohan has the answers.
The Arena has garnered rave reviews. The New York Times calls it “smart, readable, deeply reported and researched, engagingly personal, funny and often surprisingly poignant.” The Wall Street Journal calls Kohan “the Studs Terkel of stadium life, demonstrating an easy camaraderie with his sources.” Dan Van Natta, investigative reporter for ESPN, writes, “This is an irresistible tour de force that reveals how and why our monuments to games are hard-wired to fans’ most thrilling and heartbreaking memories. A fabulous book.”
Kohan will appear as part of the Center Series, a programming initiative of the Flemington Jewish Community Center that brings readings, lectures, films, and musical performances to the community, with all programs open to the general public. The next major event is on February 10, when the film series begins with “The Book Thief.” The FJCC is at 5 Sergeantsville Road, Flemington. For more information about these and other exciting upcoming programs or to join the mailing list, call the FJCC office at 908-782-6410.