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.

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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.