Section 8 in the Community: Prideraiser

via Moria Dailey Nestmann 

Beyond a shared love of the Chicago Fire and the beautiful game, a dedication to helping our shared communities is something that can be found running strongly in the veins of our supporters groups. Here we highlight the efforts being made by members of our Fire community to support and give back to organizations near and dear to our hearts.

2nd City Social ClubSecond City Social Club (SC^2) and Logan’s Squares have chosen to celebrate Pride Month with a month-long, multifaceted Prideraiser to benefit Chicago’s El Rescate. In addition to their yearlong #GivingForGoals initiative, join us at the June 9 tailgate (and following #90MinuteTailgate) to celebrate Pride, eat tamales, and support the vital community work done by El Rescate. (If you’re unable to attend the game or are protesting by not attending the game, you can donate to the fundraiser virtually too.)

We talked with Rueben Hussman of the Second City Social Club to get some more information and find out how the rest of our community can become involved.

First, can you give us a brief history of your organization/supporters group:

Second City Social Club kicked off back in 2015 as a small group of like-minded Fire Supporters who had been friends for a bit from our time in the Harlem End, but one extra initiative we had in mind was broadening our support to the communities we love beyond CF97. Knowing we all had our own Hobbies, Interests and Passions meant that we could coordinate within our group greater initiatives to be involved and spread our efforts of support beyond match day.

Tell us about your community-building initiative:

SC^2 has done a lot over the years to remain involved in all sorts of community building activities, and as mentioned we have a strong focus of doing so beyond match day. This year, we decided to highlight two matches a month on average (more in June) towards our #GivingForGoals campaign. What we do is find an organization whose work we love and pledge $50/Fire goal during that designated match towards them. Beyond that we’ve been trying to get the word spread around what that organization means to us and how others can help. This campaign has taken our fundraising efforts throughout Chicago and beyond – where some of our targeted matches are Chicago Away matches, so it’s been really great coordinating fundraising campaigns for great organizations in other MLS cities with the help of those other teams’ supporters.

Tell us how the rest of our community get involved with your initiative:

First and foremost – come out and say “hi” to a few of us this Saturday (June 9th) in the north lot where we’ll have a boatload of tamales to give out to the general community in exchange for a donation. That donation will go towards our ongoing #GivingForGoals initiative and this month’s PrideRaiser – which benefits the crucial work that El Rescate does out of Humboldt Park (seriously – go check them out!). We’re actually planning a 90 Minute Tailgate (#90MinuteTailgate) for this Saturday, which is some of our members’ reaction to sanctions placed on fellow supporters Sector Latino (and others who are in 101). If you are interested to hear why some of us are keeping ourselves in the lot on Saturday – stop by to get a tamale, support El Rescate and our general fundraising campaign, and let’s talk!

If you can’t make it Saturday – you can always check us out via Twitter (@2ndCitySC) or Facebook (Second City Social Club), and we try our best to be pushing out our campaigns there. We’d love to see anyone pledge funds towards these initiatives or to join us in our gatherings around town and with other organizations. Whether you are already a part of a supporters group, an independent, a casual Fire fan, or just interested in our initiatives – we’d love to hear from you and have you join us for some of our social events sometime soon!

I clearly remember as a newbie all those years back that it can be challenging to insert yourself in these things, but we’d just like to recommend anyone who is interested in what we are doing – or anything else that’s going on to just ask around a bit. You can do this through social media, in-person at matches or watch parties, or just by even inviting others to things that you are interested in. There are so many great communities that we feel lucky to be involved with, and each of them are constantly looking to grow – so jump in!

Per our earlier statement, Section 8 Chicago would like to welcome everyone to join us for the #90MinuteTailgate during Saturday’s match, where we will stand in solidarity with Section 101 while also supporting our Men in Red and celebrating Pride Night.

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”

A Red Heart Can Never Be Broken

This week, the Section 8 Chicago community suffered a heartbreaking loss. We have sadly lost a long-time Chicago Fire supporter, Armando Chapa, who was friends with countless other Fire fans.

We also sorrowfully received news that Fire supporter Suzanne Ryan lost her son Lochlainn Ryan this week. Suzanne has brought kindness and warmth to our community, and our love and sympathy is with her.

This is not the first time our community has faced adversity. We, of course, come together in good times, but what is more notable is how we unite when one of our own faces tragedy. Nicole Hack (S8C Director of Communications 2015-16) speaks of her own experience when facing the loss of her father, “The support and love I received from the Section 8 Chicago community since 2010 when my dad passed has been refreshing. I’m forever thankful for the comfort other Fire supporters (my Fire fam) shared with my family and me over the years.”

As we remember Armando and Lochlainn, we also remember those we have lost before them – Dan Parry, Brandon Kitchens, Euan McLean, Al Hack, Lauren Bovis, and others. Like the support the Hack family received, we hope that we can provide similar care to those who are currently grieving over the loss of a loved one.

During this heartbreaking time, we stand together. We embrace those who need us. We will always rise above.

A red heart can never be broken.

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.

 

CF97 vs RevScum in Pivotal April Match-Up

It may be April, but as fans, we know the grind to make the playoffs in MLS.  I’ve long hated the Revolution.  It was a rivalry built out of failures by the Fire.  Knocked out by the Revs 3 straight years, 2005-2007, in the playoffs was heartbreaking.  I was lucky enough to witness the 2007 match in New England with a group of 30.  Taylor Twellman’s bicycle kick happened right in front of us to secure the winner.  Paolo Wanchope’s leap over the Revs bench to get a ball out of bounds for a throw in also happened right in front of us.  I reckon it was the most inspired thing he did while wearing a Fire jersey.

The Fire got their revenge in 2008 winning on aggregate 3-0 in Eastern Conference semi-finals, but the game really sticks out for me is the second leg of the 2009 Eastern Conference semi-finals.  Down 2-1 after the first leg, the Fire came up with a truly famous victory.

Last year’s U.S. Open Cup semi-final loss in New England re-ignited that rivalry for myself.  50 of us travelled out to Foxborough on Tuesday night to watch the Fire lose, and for some it was their 4th time watching the Fire get eliminated in a competition in New England.  It was my second time.

I fucking hate the Revolution, plain and simple.  I hope to see new and old faces out there on Saturday.  Grab your tickets here.

 

Scott Greene

Chair, Section 8 Chicago