Staying With This Team Through Thick And Thin: A Review Of Mathematically Alive, A Story Of Fandom

A few years ago I heard about an interesting documentary about devout Mets fans like myself. My first thought was INTERVIEW MEEEEEEEEE! But my second thought was WHERE CAN I SEE THIS FILM?

Luckily for me I knew someone who knew the filmmaker and VOILA- I now own the DVD.

The interviews in Mathematically Alive - A Story of Fandom were conducted by filmmakers Joseph Coburn and Katherine Foronjy during the 2005-2006 seasons when it seemed like the Mets were going to take it all the way. And boy oh boy what an emotional time that was for myself and all Mets fans around the world! Throughout the award-winning film (it won Best Documentary at the 2007 New Jersey Film Festival), Coburn and Foronjy encounter die-hard collectors, fans who travel to away games, fans that wait by the players' entrance to speak to their favorite player and a shrink to help explain the insanity of it all.

"We are very social creatures," explains Dr. Daniel Wann, sports psychologist at Murray State University, "and it's very important to us to identify with something larger than the self." Dr. Wann also added that with social aspects of life like family and attending religious institutions on the decline, it only makes sense that sports has crept in to fill that void for many. And trust that no fans are as tightly knit as Mets fans... we're each others' support systems in the bad times and each others' cheerleaders in the good.

Not only did I find this documentary hella-informative, I must recommend it to one and all if for no other reason than to experience the CRAZINESS that is a real, true-orange-and-blue New York Mets fan. For example:

  • The collectors who devote entire rooms in their homes to Mets memorabilia
  • The guy in Port St. Lucie that painted his house blue and orange
  • The chick who dumped her sister's ashes in left field at Shea Stadium
  • The ladies that followed Mike Piazza EVERYWHERE he went (in their defense they weren't technically stalkers; most times it was Piazza inviting them!)
  • The dude who has the Mets logo ON HIS TOOTH and named his son SEAVER... #iCan't

The film also includes such gems like the guy who exclaimed, "We'd rather be Republicans than Yankee fans," and the other who, after the Mets tanked in the playoffs versus the Cardinals in 2006, said he'd need counseling in the off-season. I cannot make this stuff up!

Dr. Wann makes it a point to say that many of these fans are addicted to their teams similar to how a junkie is addicted to crack. I mean, he didn't use those terms but that's what he was getting at. I think he's right, especially with regards to Mets fan. What else can explain our allegiance to a team that lets us down more often than not? Hell- I'm not afraid to admit it: I'm Jaded and I'm addicted to the New York Mets! But I'm not going to rehab so don't even bother...

Back to the documentary... one thing I noticed that was rather troubling, was how even the super devout fanatics began to doubt and poo-poo the team as soon as they performed poorly. After Game 3 against the Cardinals the interviewees were already walking away defeated. IT WAS ONLY GAME THREE- why the long face???

See, this is why we lose! All these "fans" sending their bad juju to the team at the first sign of disappointment. Someone even said, "Even when we're winning I'm always waiting for someone to knock us down." FOR REAL, THO? Girl, BYE! We don't need your kind fucking it up for the team... can you believe this mess?

*deep cleansing breaths*

All in all I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed the documentary (even though the players' faces had to be scrambled out of the shots!) and would recommend it to anyone who loves the Mets, loves sports and enjoys watching crazy fans act, well, crazy!


Mathematically Alive - A Story of Fandom (2007). Directed and produced by Joseph Coburn & Katherine Foronjy. Now available on DVD. Photos courtesy of the filmmakers.


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