The Burning Black Fire

Written by Director of Communications, Jake Payne

I very vividly remember a time during the tailgate of a Chicago Fire game where I was standing in line for some tacos. I turned around when someone said “HEY” really loudly and I turned to see a white and black guy smiling at me.

The white guy said,”Look there’s the other black fan!”

The black fan and I laughed about it, shook hands, and that was about it. I don’t even think we got each other’s name.

Why did that short moment stick with me?

I love the Chicago Fire and the community that surrounds it. Some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met have been at Fire games. However, it doesn’t change that there was more truth than a joke in that statement. In my time of being a Fire fan, I’ve only met three other black fans in an entire stadium of people. It’s disappointing considering how global the game is and how much soccer is apart of so many different cultures. It might be hard to understand why this is a big deal. That’s something maybe we as a country don’t do enough of, understanding. So it might help to understand how the current fan atmosphere can make it difficult for other black fans.

Brandon Vincent (Chicago Fire defender) and Jake Payne (Section 8 Chicago’s 2018 Director of Communications)

It’s similar to being an away fan, where you are constantly aware that you’re different, but you have pride that’s shared with the people around you. Except for us, there are not many people to share that pride within the supporters sections. I feel that Chicago has a huge opportunity to help that pride be celebrated with the Fire in a way that other leagues can’t, no other sport has the celebration of pride and culture like soccer. You can see it on constant display in banners and two poles, involving black fans in the celebration would mean the world and would be another way of preserving a culture. The city of Chicago is already so segregated, neighborhoods changing by the month, people’s cultures vanishing or being underappreciated, crystallizing that black culture into a supporters history that has proven to withstand time gives another chance to keep what is there. You can see that in the Polish influences that are ever present in Chicago Fire culture, and for other teams German and British influence. Sector Latino celebrates their own culture. I really haven’t seen that celebration anywhere for black fans.

Continue reading “The Burning Black Fire”

Rock Against Racism VI, 8/26 at 4:00pm

This Saturday at 4:00PM, in the North Lot before the Fire take on the Loons from Minnesota, we will be hosting Rock Against Racism 6!

Three bands will be playing this year: Three Zone Skam, Fuerza Bruta, and Anger.  As always, the Red Scare did great work with securing breweries: Two Brothers, Half Acre, Ska Brewing, Original Sin, Solemn Oath, and BuckleDown Brewing.  Cans will be available for a small donation.  Furthermore, the t-shirt shown above will be available for a $12 donation.

All proceeds will go towards the Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors.  Justice for our Neighbors are compassionate advocates for just immigration laws and the humane treatment of immigrants and refugees.

Be sure to get to the match early and support this yearly great cause.

Get to FireHouse East 8/12! Here the Stories Why!

Away games truly bring together old-timers, new fans, and memories that last a lifetime.  Even on a match that brought heart-breaking loss, fan Matt Mason has fond memories. 
Aboutscott@s8c.org Log
AttachmentsTo protect your privacy, remote images are blocked in this message. Display images“My first road trip was playoffs 2008, we lost but it was still an unbelievable experience. I had been dying to go on a road trip at this point. My friend and I decided to splurge and go on the second bus that was not even guaranteed when I bought my ticket. My awesome manager at the time changed my schedule so I could make the trip. My friend later ditched me and took a seat on the other bus, but that’s all good I had a extra seat and got to meet people. I had another friend join the group in Columbus and who received a ride from Tom I believe. I also learned about the legend that is Andrew Braudy when he took the blame for a flare he didn’t light. It was my first true Section 8 experience!”

There is something special about the MLS away trip. Unlike Europe, where teams are located so close that in many countries a far away trip is a two or three hour train ride, MLS away days are a thing of dedication. To get on a bus with 50 people, many of whom you won’t know, and committing to ride with them for hours both ways just to watch your team compete is kind of a crazy thing to do. You never know who will be on the bus until you find your seat, there is no guarantee that your team will win, and the bus is never comfortable. None of that matters. Many of the best Fire friendships are formed during away games. Vice-Chair, Dan Giroux, states he “met people on buses to Columbus, Philly and further flung destinations. Before I got on that bus I had no idea who any of them were. Spending hours drinking singing and laughing with strangers means they won’t be strangers for long. There is nothing like your first trip and the people you will meet on it, so what better way to prepare for our trip to Columbus on August 12th than to share some stories from Fire fans about their first time riding the away bus.”

Most people don’t know many other supporters when they take their first trip. Jacob Peters was the same way, getting on the bus after a few years living away from Chicago.

“My first year back in Chicago, with the prodding of the guy I split season tickets with, I jumped on a bus with essentially a bunch of strangers & rode the most boring stretch of highway in the country, the ride from Chicago to Columbus. Along the ride I realized that I actually had met many of these people on previous occasions: the dude who had met me outside Red Bull Arena to hook me up with 2 extra tickets in the supporters section; a woman who I had dozens of shared acquaintances with from our high school years on the north side; the ticket rep who had met me in River North to exchange tickets in the years before the advent of the online account manager; the intense capo that I had viewed almost as a myth more than man, but over the course of the trip, I learned he was very much just a regular guy like myself, who loved the Fire.”

“By the end of the return leg, I had shared beers and snack food with these former acquaintances and could call every single one of them a friend, because while the result didn’t go our way, we as a group were able to throw significant shade at the Cowtown that is Columbus, celebrate an Austin Berry goal & hope & pray for an equalizer over those last tense 20 minutes of the game.”

For many, like Jake, the first away trip is to Columbus. It was mine, because at the time I was nervous and the thought of being on a bus for 6 hours each way with strangers was hard enough, doing a longer trip seemed way too much for me. Not for Nate Cubeta though. Nate’s first trip was the long journey to Toronto, another Section 8 on Tour classic.

“My first away trip was Toronto, which was quite an increase in bus time from the usual Pub to Pitch. I was at AJ Hudson’s at an ungodly hour to start the journey north. The few times we got off the bus, people in Michigan and Indiana thought we were the team itself. As we got closer to Toronto, the excitement started to build. We made it to the drop off point and everyone had a celebratory meal at a diner and got to know each other better. Even though we were placed in the upper corner of the stadium, we sang throughout the game. Despite the result being a loss, it was a great experience and lots of the TFC fans applauded our spirit. We left the stadium singing as we headed to a few bars. We all met up the next morning at the same diner before getting on the bus and it was great to hear everyone’s stories of how the night ended up. A lot of the people on that bus I became friends with and I now see at matches both home and away!”

The beautiful thing about the away trips are the unification of Fans. People from every supporters group ride the bus, as well as plenty of people not in one. There are no divisions about what the best way to support are, and for a bus ride there, a bus ride back, and a game in between, everyone is just there to support the Fire. Juan Velazquez has similar feelings, his favorite memory from his first away trip was all the Fire fans being escorted into the stadium at the same time.

“The collective group of Section 8, Sector Latino and everyone in between – singing in this beautiful mix tape of song/chants making our presence felt in enemy territory and never once feeling outnumbered. Away matches, you just want to sing a little louder and jump a little higher.”

With August 12th coming up, and a first placed Chicago Fire getting ready to crash the party in Columbus, I can’t think of a better trip to make your first. Let’s strive to have at least 2 buses, if not 3, worth of fans making their way to Ohio next month, and why drive when you can drink, sing and meet your new best friends from the comfort of a touring bus. Make the commitment now and don’t miss what could be one of the most exciting Fire road trips in years. The Board will do its best to make it a memorable one, or maybe, as one Fire supporter told us fondly, it is better when it is better when you don’t remember much at all.

“Do i remember my first trip? Barely.”

Buy your tickets here!

Fire Away? Let’s Go to the Beach!

On July 22nd, our Men in Red have a 1pm match in the Bronx, NY.  If you cannot make it, the October 8th Committee has your day covered.  As the info graphic says, we will be hosting a fun beach soccer tournament.  It will be 4 on 4, single elimination, and only 8 teams can enter.  $25 per team and the winning team gets $50 towards their Dock tab for the watch party! The goal of beach soccer is fun, but we’ve incentivized the winners so things don’t become too fun! Claim your spot here before all spots go!

During the match, we will have drink specials (tba).  Finally, we have exciting raffle prizes where all donations go towards hosting the 20th Anniversary Party.  Come out, have fun, and let’s keep pace in the Supporters’ Shield race!

Updated: Open Cup @ FC Cincinnati Details

Updated 6/21

The Chicago Fire’s 5th Round Open Cup match will take place @ 7:30PM EST against FC Cincinnati in Ohio.  Section 8 Chicago will once again be running a bus (hopefully more than 1) to the match.  You can purchase bus & match, and match only tickets here.

The estimated details are as followed:

June 28
Depart AJ Hudson’s 11:00 AM
Depart Toyota Park 11:30 AM

Arrive at Nippert Stadium around 6:00/6:30 PM EST

Arrive Toyota Park 1:30 AM (June 29)
Arrive AJ Hudson’s 2:00 AM

Match only tickets will be sold at Ticketleap link above and the watch party will be at The Globe Pub as it’s becoming an away Open Cup tradition to have watch parties there.  Will update post once those details are finalized.

However, it really is easy.  Get on the bus!

Photo credit: Will Bramlett

The Day the Brimstone Became the Margarita Cup

Thursday’s Fire tilt marks the always anticipated Brimstone Cup match with long time rivals F*C* Dallas.  You can find tickets to the match here.

The history between the Fire and that Texas team is long and bitter.  If you’re looking for a historical breakdown of rivalry, you will not find it in the article.  Chances are you know how to use Wikipedia.  Instead, this article will briefly focus on the events that transpired last year in Dallas when the Fire for the first time in three years lost the Brimstone Cup.

July 16, 2016 could not have a been a more stereotypical Dallas day.  Excruciating heat and humidity.  The day started off with a fun twist; those who brought the Brimstone Cup down to Dallas were greeted by Chicago Sun-Times journalist and author, Neil Steinberg, who took some interest in the trophy.  Once at the stadium, the Dallas Beer Guardians were quite accommodating to those fans who made the trip down.  They gave us beer, we repaid them with Malort.

It wasn’t long after the game started and Maximiliano Urruit’s goal in the 23rd minute, the half dozen or so fans from Section 8 who made the trip down saw the writing on the wall.  We enjoyed our recent run of Brimstone success and decided to use the trophy for what it really is – a cup.  A group of us went up to the concession and ordered, well, a Margarita Cup.  You can see how the order took place below.

I personally can say the Margarita Cup was delicious and a great way how to drain our sorrows.

The Brimstone Cup will be back in Chicago on Thursday night traveling up with Dallas fans.  Let’s win it back and keep for a couple more years.  We Mess With Texas.

Seattle Shame

“Shame. Shame. Shame.” For followers of HBO’s “Game of Thrones”, those words recall the scene of Cersei Lannister’s walk of atonement. But on May 13, when the Chicago Fire hosted the Seattle Sounders, those in attendance sporting neon green apparel found themselves being the ones shamed.

If you happened to be at Saturday’s tailgate, you probably saw a bearded individual dressed as what looked like a nun following around Seattle away supporters, ringing a bell, and chanting “shame” at them. Their crime? Being a Sounders fan, of course.

A long-time Fire supporter took it upon himself to don Game of Thrones-inspired apparel and recreate the scene at Toyota Park. That is, publicly shaming those wearing the opposing colors. And few were safe from being shamed for their decision to support the Sounders side. Needless to say, Fire fans and followers of HBO’s hit show alike reveled in the display. And after the Fire beat Seattle 4-1, well, it can be assumed Sounders fans had to feel some post-match shame.