The Fire’s season opener is not far away, but the players and staff aren’t the only ones putting some work in ahead of the March 6 match against New York City FC.
Some of the fans are getting together to add some atmosphere and show their support for the season opening match. Fans from Section 8, the Fire’s independent supporters’ group, have had multiple organized outings already in February and have more to come before matchday.
In the past the group has put up some impressive tifos, which are organized, sometimes even choreographed, displays by a number of fans. This year they are promoting what they’re calling a ‘two-pole initiative.’
The two-poles are about 5-feet-by-5-feet sheets of fabric that have a fan-created design painted on them. They get the name from the two poles that fans use to hold them up high enough for everyone to see.
“There’s usually one big group behind it,” said Rudy Gomez, Section 8 director of operations. “This year we’re trying to do it more individualistic so people can come out and do a two-pole. If they want to take it home, they can take it home and it will be a great show of support and all that good stuff to show the team that we’re behind them.”
The idea is to have enough of the two-pole designs created that it will create a cool visual effect in the stadium. Some of these designs are riffs on a Fire logo or on the logo of a specific fan group.
One of the more creative designs features new Fire coach Veljko Paunovic, who is Photoshopped into the hood of Obi-Wan Kenobi from the original Star Wars movie. It includes the caption “Save us Pauno, you’re our only hope.”
“I like to see where people go with it,” Section 8 supporter John Petty said. “Some of them have relevance to the Fire. Some of them are just for fun, but they’re all entertaining.”
The process for a two-pole or a bigger tifo starts by creating a design on a computer. Next, they hook up a projector to the computer so they can trace the image onto the sheet that they will paint on. Finally, paint in the appropriate colors. Some of the more artistically talented free-hand their designs.
It’s a relatively simple process, but can be intimidating from afar. However, as Alexis McAdams, who is spearheading the charge to have these two-pole events about once a month during the 2016 Fire season, put it, “We’re not shooting for perfection.”
Whether it’s several smaller designs or one bigger, coordinated one, a lot of time goes into something that is on display for just a short period of time right before kickoff.
“It’s a lot of work for a minute or two of glory,” Gomez said.
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Many members of Section 8 have been doing working on tifos and banners for years. Gomez is one of the longest standing supporters and one of the organizers.
He has met a lot of people through the events and tries to encourage an inclusive environment for more people to join.
“The people who’ve been doing this ended up being some of my really good friends so it’s something that we do as a group of friends,” Gomez said. “We get more people involved and we try to make it so everybody can come out and participate and show that love for the team that they have as well in this form that we’re trying to get out there.”
Be sure to watch the Fire home opener against New York City FC on March 6 at 1 p.m. on CSN.