The Black Out Continues: Chicago Fire Supporters to Stay in Black
After this weekend’s activities friend of OTF, Mr. Marty Tomszak, brings you a soulful message of protest…
Dearest Fire Family,
Congratulations on a successful Black Out! If you need help gauging whether or not this is the case, you simply have to look at the ferocity with which Monterrey Security tore up the black banner as it made its way into the Club STH sections near Owner and Chairman Andy Hauptman’s box. An action, by the way, which goes directly against the Chicago Fire Soccer Club Supporter’s charter that Hauptman “spearheaded” the creation of and signed himself … There was participation on many fronts, whether that came in the form of wearing black and sitting for the duration of the match, partaking in the tifo based in Section 8, taking initiative and expanding the tifo to sections in other parts of the stadium, or even educating neighbors and friends on the situation. To all of you I say thank you for the work you have put in! However, our work isn’t done, we are merely getting started!
The question now is where do we go from here?
Several people have expressed concern about the lack of support for the players on Saturday, to those with that qualm I would like to inform you that the players were reached out to before the match and understood the situation. Some were supportive, some were not. This is a divisive issue in both the stands and on the field. Going forward I would suggest that silence be taken out of the equation. Keep the black motif but make sure to encourage the players on the field at all times. Silence was great for one match but I cannot personally advocate it for the remaining home matches of the season. That being said, the black motif should be our rallying cry and I advocate for the continued use of table rolls at matches, perhaps with the addition of printing the names of people who understood the meaning of Tradition, Honor, and Passion onto them (Wilt, Klopas, Stoichkov, Armas, Brown, etc.).There are several rolls left in the Section 8 PODs but you can always bring more.
Another issue that has been brought up was “What is this all about?”. Well, as was argued in my first open letter, this was to be a sign of frustration at the way in which the club has been run for the last several years. Both on the “business” side and the “soccer” side of things. Again, whether that means getting rid of Hauptman (quite a lofty goal) or encouraging him to change his shoddy running of OUR club, the Black Out was meant to show him that the supporters are conscious and unimpressed. As we move forward, I urge others to take the reins in discovering what this movement means to them. While I took initiative with the first action, I cannot be the only organizer if this is to be a movement reflective of a majority of the supporters of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club. If other fans seem confused with the happenings within the stadium, take the time to explain the situation, perhaps a flier can be drafted as a community. I am here to help with any ideas you have.
Again, this cannot be a one-time protest if it is to have any effect on the future of this club. Hauptman, Chief Operating Officer Atul Khosla, and the rest of the front office are sincerely hoping that it was a fluke and they showed this hope with their actions on Saturday. For those unaware, the F.O. and the Fire Ticket Sales Team knew ahead of time about the planned action (a necessary flaw that comes with using social media to organize) and deliberately attempted to stifle the protest by comping tickets, encouraging STHs to trade in their unused tickets for “the last match of the summer”, suggesting that walk ups purchase tickets in Section 8, not checking for assigned seating, and allegedly using Groupon and group sales to round off a plan of bringing people in at a discount. Bravo! They showed that for one match they can fill the stadium without the help of Kaka, Giovinco, Bradley, Altidore, Pirlo, or Lampard. If only they were so inclined to fill the stadium at a profit loss every match! I urge supporters to call their bluff. Stay strong! Stay motivated! Stay Organized!
Outlets for continued action include myself and OTF, but more importantly and legitimately the Section 8 Chicago board. If you don’t know your board members, you should. They are great people who are here to FACILITATE (not do for you…) supporter initiatives. Below I have listed the positions and contact information.
- Chair: Dan Martin. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @fugexlac
- Vice Chair: Frank Cardenas. E-Mail: email@example.com Twitter: @TrumpetGuapo
- Director of Finance: Merrie Bunt. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @mlbunt
- Director of Operations: Rudy Gomez. E-Mail: email@example.com Twitter: @kornkid15
- Director of Marketing: Eva Hall. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @evahall
- Director of Communications: Nicole Hack. E-Mail: email@example.com; Twitter: @nikhak
- Coordinator of Merchandise: Maud Squiers. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @maudamanda
- Director of Events: Jacob Peters. E-Mail: email@example.com | Twitter: @ArchiJake
No matter what you do going forward, stay true to yourself and to the values that the Chicago Fire community has exhibited since 1997. Remember to be courteous, respectful, and to follow stadium policy. We may not be happy, and rightfully so, but I am truly encouraged to see the way in which people have responded to the situation. There will soon be a day when we can return to being Red and White, but for now take courage in the Black Out.