By Charles Fulkerson
In the right center field section of Yankee Stadium sit the “Bleacher Creatures”, known for throwing beer, peanuts, and cracker jacks at the opposing team’s fans, especially those in Red Sox gear. The intimidating “Black Hole” section of the Oakland Raiders is home to every obscenity known to man with diehard fans covered head to toe in silver and black. Then there’s Chicago Fire’s Section Eight. The Great 8 takes the cake for the rowdiest, most uproarious, ear-blasting section of all.
Ticket check, wallet check, keys check, road flare check. You can’t get much more diehard than nonchalantly walking by a security guard with a road flare in your underwear, and then lighting it off in the stands after Marco Pappa abuses the back of the opponent’s net. But don’t be mistaken, the great Section Eight (located on the Northern side of Toyota Park) is way more than a bunch of crazed pyromaniacs.
Sections Eight’s mission is as a tall one: “To unite all Chicago Fire Fans, to create a dominant in-stadium force unseen in any American team sport and to establish a home-field advantage whenever the Chicago Fire is on the field.” Needless to say, Section 8 lives up to its mission with a fiery vengeance.
So how do they create this “dominant in-stadium force unseen before in any American team sport?” Start with the world’s largest fan-created flag in all of sports, the MEGAbandera! Stretching 80 yards long, and 25 yards wide, this $10,000.00, Paul Bunyan-size banner was funded and created solely by Section Eight’s members. If the gargantuan flag doesn’t create enough of an edge, the collective screech of two thousand fans chanting intimidating ditties like this one is sure to intimidate faint-hearted opponents…
“Our Chi-ca-go. We love you so. Like her-o-in. Fi-re, a drug for Chi-ca-go. Just like hash-ish. Or L-S-D. For the Fi-re there’s com-plete in-san-i-ty!”
Or how about a little…
“F*uck off! Toronto FC! You ain’t got no history! Second class city! Third class team! Fourth class fans. And a shit country!”
The thing that sets Section Eight fans apart from the rest is that they consider themselves a part of the action and an important factor in deciding the match in Chicago Fire’s favor.
“In my eyes we’re part of the team. European clubs and their fans have had a head start and a leg up on us. We’ve been independent supporters since 1998, so we’ve had to start from the ground up,” proclaims Eric Kekeis, Section 8 drummer. “Now we’re a really successful grass roots campaign that’s extremely passionate about this team’s success.”
Section Eight takes its name from its original location at Solider Field. With The Fire now calling Toyota Park home, Section Eight actually consists of sections 116,117,118 and 119 at the Harlem end of the Stadium.
Whether The Fire is killing the opposing team, or getting killed, you can guarantee that Section Eight will be on their feet putting their passion on the line for their team.
“What sets us apart from the rest is that were viral; you’ll never see us apathetic like, yah know, Cubs fans. We get off our asses no matter what the score is. I love the road flares, they make me cry and hurt my lungs but I’m all for it! That’s what we are about,” says a stalwart Section Eight season ticket holder.
Check out section8chicago.com for more about Section 8, and become a Facebook Fan, to get more insider information.