Monday, July 13, 2009

7/14/09: Road Trip Journal- Chicago Away Trip Round 2

Regardless of another tie, 250-300 Crew fans partied all night long in Chicago (Pic by Carl Hostetter).

The week leading up to this trip was tediously boring. All I could think about Monday through Friday was Chicago away, a weekend that couldn't disappoint unless the Crew decided to rematch their dull performance from last week against D.C. United.

The week dragged along like slow torture as I, for every few minutes since last Saturday, imagined being on the bus with a beer in my hand. Finally on Friday, I had something other than work to bide my time as myself and two others decided to make a banner and to purchase some smoke bombs.

We knew that Chicago would light off a bunch of flares(because when don't they?) and we didn't want our fans to be one upped by those pretend Ultra d-bags. So, the three of us figured, we would go the more safer, smoke bomb route. And, although, we heard that there might be arrests (ludicrous, since there is no danger in smoke bombs if you hold them for a four count and drop them when the smoke billows & since Chicago gets away with their flares weekly) we figured that if our supporter's display was done under a banner there would be no way to pick us or others out. We additionally figured that if you placed a person at the far ends of each side with a couple of smoke bombs that the display would go off perfectly with security befuddled. We could get security to go to the left, then light one off to the right, so they would then go right, then light one off under the banner(can't pick them out under there) and so on and so forth until they were all gone. Like an amusing cat and mouse game.

With a rudimentary game plan in place, we started to look online for a smoke bomb related banner idea. We came up with this.

More pictures here.

The banner lettering "S3" stands for Super Three. It's a group from Aris in Greece. I just admire their supporter's atmosphere as well as their anti-racist and anti-facist stances which are very important as well. This banner is three different ideas in one, the back is from an image we discovered from S3 with a bulldog in the middle(I liked the font style and since we have three groups I liked the idea, Super Three; Lta, Csu, Hsh), instead of the dog we took another image we found from a different club(the guy in the middle) and placed it in the middle of the "S3" lettering. We liked how behind the guy in the middle, there are people supposed to be lighting off smoke. The guy in the image in the middle isn't holding a smoke bomb, it's just a fist. But, we traced half of a smoke bomb above his fist and then made a mushroom cloud above it.

The idea was to use this as concealment. We picked up the smoke bomb's at an army supply store on Friday afternoon, traced the banner at Kev's, and then spent from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. working on the banner with the three of us and Stu. When we got back to Blake's place we played a tournament of Fifa 09(my team Wisla Krakow got spanked and Stu ended up being the champion with Manchester City) and then we all went to bed finally at 4 a.m.

On the day of reckoning, I whoke up at 7:30 a.m. I made some coffee and did an intense work out even though I was exhausted. Then I had to pick up an 18 pack of Heineken, some zip ties for banners, some smokes, an Amp Cherry energy drink, and head to the stadium. The bus left at 10:30 a.m. and by 10:35 a.m. chanting was the norm and by noon mostly everyone was drunk or well on the war path to stumbling.

On our way to hell, we only stopped once because the smokers were getting antsy. Our bus docked at Toyota Park around 5 p.m. Already waiting there was La Turbina and other supporters who made the trip up themselves. It was a raucous atmosphere once all the supporters got settled into mini-Ruby Claddagh. I finished off every beer I had in the parking lot, an 18 pack of beer gone in a day, super healthy. And, then headed into the stadium with my banners.

After helping with the railing banners and dropping our crowd banners in strategic locations, lol riight, I went back into the parking lot and partied it up to music and just had a good time, getting pumped for the game. We then placed the smoke bombs in our boxers and headed in.

Our support was great during the game as 250 Crew fans got mental in Nordecke West:

Chanting "We Love You", "You Suck Asshole", Turbina chants, "Piss on the Fire", and Traitor for McBride at the top of our lungs. It seemed like Columbus had the upper hand early on and in other portions of the game. But, as it goes with Chicago, it seems like nothing but ties in the regular season (otherwise known as kissing your evil and mildly retarded sister results).

Steven Lenhart got on the end of a header and nodded it into the net in the 79th minute but apparently was offside. We erupted into celebration, but the referee wasn't on our side.

The game ended in a dull 0-0 tie. But, we still chanted for our side and afterwards they came over as usual and gave a bow. We then sang "Happy Birthday" to Gino Padula because it was his birthday the next day. And, Frankie also jumped into the stands to talk to supporters.

As far as support at the stadium goes, both sides made a lot of noise. But, early in the second half, the Fire fans haphazardly lit off 10 or so flares. Apparently, that went off real well as Section 8 almost started a real Fire, but that's not surprising since the majority are inbred idiots. Here's a word of advice for Fire fans, if you're going to light a flare then you should be man enough to hold it. But, hey at least there monotone chanting of "fire" is more creative when there is an actual fire going on:

Section 8 also couldn't even get together a banner or tifo for this game. While we were spending our whole Friday and Friday night getting together a display, Fire fans labored for 5 minutes making a spray painted sign that said "Columbus= Suburb of Detriot." Amazing, lol. Such ingeniuty.

Here's a better idea, just don't even bother wasting the five minutes making a spray painted sign that looks done up by 12 year olds. It just makes you guys even look worse. Also, the funny thing is, that in our hotel there were Chicago fans from the Detriot area. Lol, nice.

But, hey I guess real ultras can't be bothered to waste time actually making banners. Instead they rather just put up spray painted versions, and hold up a team made jersey flag(nothing more ultra than that) sideways and almost burn their side of the stadium down with flares. Yep, Chicago is so amazing. And, thanks to Chicago's amazing ineptitude apparently security figured our side would be idiotic as well and retaliate by finishing their job of burning down the stands with flares. As a result, security came up to us in the 80th minute stating to our section, "we know you have flares!" None of us had any flares. The MLS liasion officer even said to us "five Fire fans got arrested for flares!" to try to scare us into handing over flares. Still we had none. Then since apparently that wasn't enough, security even threatened to kick out totally innocent fans if we didn't tell them where we had the flares. None of us had flares.

And, I believe that the scare tactic was complete B.S. because I haven't heard of any Fire fans who were arrested. Not a peep about it on any of their message boards. If five of us were arrested the news would be all over the place. So, I think the scare tactic threat was probably just security holding us to some double standard. Others reasoned the same and we didn't waste a whole Friday not to go through with our plan.

Further, it seems that the league holds us to a double standard because no one likes our team or our fans. Our fans get punched, attacked, and locked in a bathroom by away fans in Chicago. Somehow we deserved it and were asking for it. One of our fans got attacked in the bathroom Saturday night, but security seemed more interested in finding our imaginary flares. Also, our fans(many families included) had to run a melee through Toronto wannabe tough guys last year because according to Toronto fans we asked to be let out early, even though we never did ask to be let out in the first place and security could have just said, "tough shit." Even then most of the slanted press blamed it on Crew fans.

Anyways, if security would have compiled some research, they would know that out of all the decent sized supporters groups in MLS, including Portland, that Columbus is just about the only one that has never lit a flare. This is because we have no interest in lighting them in the current setup. Because lighting a flare along with fear of getting arrested for doing so isn't a good mix. Because of that mix people freak out and pitch their flares and then a fire happens.

We decided to instead use smoke bombs because we knew Chicago was going to do their flares and try to show us up. However, I think Section 8 failed miserably because they didn't have any tifo other than an old jersey flag and they obviously used crap pyrotechnics and were too scared to actually hold them causing a Fire. On the other hand we knew that with smoke bombs, if held for about a four count, were non-dangerous once the smoke starts to billow out. After you have done a couple it's very easy to drop them correctly without causing any trouble.

And, about a minute after the above picture with security milling about we started to unfurl our banners and dropped the smoke bombs.

First one to the left.. Security went left to investigate, by the time they got there no signs of who dropped it. Then second one to the right, when security got there no signs of who dropped it.. Then a third one under the concealing banner, couldn't pick them out because they couldn't see us. We did this again for about 3 or 4 more before some people started to get cold feet about security swarming.

The plan worked perfectly and I was chuckling because security couldn't figure it out even though they were two rows in front of us.

No one got busted. But, we only got off about 6 or 7 of them. So, after the game we decided to have a party in the parking lot and light off the rest.

Everything was fine during our post game party until two kamikaze Chicago Fire fans, who had the IQ of little baby puppies, decided to attack one of the biggest guy's in our section right near all the Crew buses. They came running through, Kev gave the one guy a chest bump, he fell down. Security apprehended them. And, we waved "na-na-na-nah na-na-na-nah goodbye dumbass."

Security started to get a little worried after that and told us all to get on the bus and a cop car started moving in on our buses for more effect.

We got the hint and went back to our hotel. We discussed possibly going to another Chicago Fire bar "Charlie's" to make up for our friend getting beat on by some Fire fans in the bathroom. But, we all decided those tools were not worth it.

When I went looking for a bar around our hotel. I ran into 5 Fire fans from Michigan. All about 19 and some weak looking toolbag's. One that looked as if he was sporting a perm(lol) started talking some crap on me. I kept it in the back of my head and moved along.

These same guys were outside the hotel trying to pick on some younger Crew fan later. One of our guys didn't take to kindly to that and knocked a bottle out of the one Fire fan's hand and got into his face. Then we all went out there. Both sides tried to make some peace before one of the idiots decided to pick on one of our guys that was actually a Marine. Yeah, our Marine friend didn't take to kindly to that and ran at the one little tool and slugged him. I and some others helped him out(can't leave a friend hanging against five guys) and connected on some other guys. My guy had some Dolce & Gabbana glasses in his pocket but they must have fallen out. All the Fire fans ran away like wussies and I picked up some $250 dollar D&G glasses, not bad. :-)

I would have given them back but they ran away so fast, lol.

A little later we met some shirt designers in our hotel that were in Chicago for business, they were from O'Quinn Clothing out in California and they hooked us up with some free swag. They told us to take whatever we wanted. Some got free hats and lots of shirts. I took two shirts. So, with my two shirts that were worth probably $50 bucks a piece and some D&G glasses I just looked like I went shopping at Express, instead of just coming from a footie match.

So, now all bedecked out. We went downtown to Miller's Pub for dinner and some drinks. Met some Chicago hotties, wandered around the city with some fellow Crew fans looking for other bars, and had a good night.

The next day I hated the bus because everyone acted as if we were going to another game. Stu got intoxicated on a Sunday, many others were not far behind. I was just interested in reading a book and trying to fall asleep. I guess I should have known never to fall asleep on a supporters bus, my eyes were met with something when I awhoke. Just ask Robyn at Ruby's.

Anyways, other than that and the tie, overall a good trip.

Rating: A , Free swag up to $350 bucks, a smoke bomb display that had security scratching their heads on where it was coming from even though the area was small, and putting dumb Chicago fans in their place. Doesn't get better than that except for with a win. That would make it an A+.

1 comment:

  1. So, now all bedecked out. We went downtown to Miller's Pub for dinner and some drinks. Met some Chicago hotties, wandered around the city with some fellow Crew fans looking for other bars, and had a good night. banners Chicago