Tifo crew

Dan Martin, Section 8 Chicago’s Communications Director, explains how all Fire fans can get involved to help create displays of support for the team at Toyota Park.

Since the inception of the Fire organization, fans of the club have expressed their love and support for the players on the field in organized, colorful displays (view some history of Fire fan displays here), known as tifo. Via rolls of colored paper, large numbers of temporary flags, two-poles, and banners, or even the legendary Megabandera (RIP), Fire fans have made choreographed tifo displays an important part of our culture.

It’s important to remember that these tifo displays are paid for, organized by and executed by fans out of their love for the club. The front office often gives us logistical support (such as space to construct displays spanning hundreds of feet), but this is all done in the spirit of Do It Yourself as an active supporter of the club. It takes a lot of time to create a big display like last year’s playoff banners, but being part of creating awesome displays is more than worth it in the end.

Now, a great opportunity has arisen for Fire fans interested in creating new displays, both for the remainder of the 2010 season and into the future, to join in and help us out this season and beyond.

As one of our old-timers put it on our forum, it’s time to form a Tifo Crew:

 “Tifo Crew will focus on ideas, design, and implementation of tifo displays, and the creation of banners and flags. The best part about this crew is that anyone is welcome to join. It doesn’t matter if you are part of a supporters group or an independent, or a newbie. The purpose of this is to get anyone who has been a part of tifo in the past, or anyone interested in helping, to come together for one main cause. Bringing everyone together will allow us to have multiple ideas, opinions, and most importantly, hands to help.”

Our recent tifo contest – resulting in hundreds of umbrellas unfurled around Toyota Park in co-ordinated fashion before the Galaxy game – was a first step, but we have moved beyond that phase. Whether you're a member of a long-standing supporter group or a newbie experiencing your first Fire season, Tifo Crew is about bringing supporters together in the interests of the cause. The aim is to include any supporter who wants to contribute to bigger and better displays for the future.

Chicago is a hotbead of artistic and creative talent. Look at the architecture, the parks, the public sculptures and murals -- all these things come back to the city we inhabit and love. Fire tifo displays have always used civic iconography as inspiration for design and message. Bring your ideas to the table and make them a reality. As Daniel Burnham once put it: “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work.”

Getting involved in Tifo Crew is easy. Come to The Pitch on Wednesday, September 29th at 8PM to take part in the inaugural Tifo Crew organizational meeting (and stick around to watch the Fire take on San Jose at 10PM). To join our Google group for tifo discussion, email tom@section8chicago.com.