Around the Campfire: Fire in the Community, Mid-October Edition

Get connected with the Fire on another level by participating in community outreach events; Anthony Seymour calls for more voices in the chorus on this recurring feature

In looking at my love affair with soccer, the sport on the field made me fall in love, but the sense of community I felt made me obsessed. If fans who read this blog are anything like me, it is not just the sport that keeps them involved - it is the friends and colorful personalities that they meet along the way. Since it is community that I seek as much as the next match, I find myself attending as many off-the-field events related to the Fire (and soccer in general) in the Chicago area as my busy schedule allows. Events help to build a soccer community, and welcome new people to participate, whether the events are big or small.

In Hot Time in Old Town’s new series "Around the Campfire," we in the Chicago Fire community will take a look at upcoming off the field soccer related events in the Chicagoland area. These events could be related to the Fire, club events posted from the Fire website, events from other regional soccer clubs, supporters groups, supporter’s bars or the soccer community at large in Chicago. With each column, we will briefly discuss some events that occurred since the last segment and provide a list of upcoming events. Future editions will keep readers informed on Chicago Fire Foundation events, player appearances, Chicago Red Star events (when in season), Chicago Soul Indoor soccer events (when in season), and even other comings and goings in amateur clubs.

The thing is, I can't do this column on my own. I have a time consuming job, a wife, friends who don't watch soccer (believe it or not) and three hungry cats to feed. All of these factors conspire against my obsession. There is no way I can attend everything that has to do with the Chicago Fire soccer community. So here's where you come in: If this concept is going to succeed, we need the participation of you folks - the readers of Hot Time in Old Town. We need your narratives, your opinions, and feedback on events you attend in the community. Besides, no one wants to read just my self-righteous opinions unchecked each column.

I would love to hear your thoughts and give you credit for you contributions right here. The format will be an open forum to discuss events, so all comments are welcome. If you know of an event you would like to see added to the list, or you would like to provide insight into an event you attended, please do not hesitate to contact me: Post to the blog below with your SB Nation account, tweet me at @Kalihan42 or e-mail me at kalihan42@yahoo.com. I would love to hear the readers' thoughts on the comings and goings of soccer in Chicago. The idea of this series is to continue to build the Chicago Fire community through increased participation in events.

Let’s begin this edition a little differently by providing an outline of number of ways to connect with other fans. I realize the average reader of Hot Time in Old Town probably already knows a lot of these things. Forgive me for talking down to everyone for a few moments, but I wanted to take the opportunity to connect with fans who might just be getting involved with the Chicago Fire or soccer in Chicago in general and offer them ways to connect

European League Watch Parties. Who doesn't like drinking in the morning? One great way to connect with soccer fans in Chicago is the many soccer bars that open early in the morning to broadcast English Premier League matches as well as Spanish, Italian, German and many other league matches. Some of the best places to watch include the Globe Pub, Cleo's, The Atlantic, AJ Hudson's and Fado's. The soccer fan in Chicago is fortunate to have so many places willing to open early in the morning to air European matches. Contact each bar directly for details and times. Some watch parties are exclusive to a specific club, so do your homework before attending. As a fan of the Tottenham Hotspurs my favorite place to watch is the Atlantic Bar and Grill which has active Spurs following and draws a large crowd. Many locations are willing to put on a match even if it is not scheduled so feel free to call and ask.

Fire Friday's. Only one Friday left! This past summer the Fire front office began hosting Fire Friday events the Fridays before weekend home matches. Locations that have hosted include Cleo's, AJ Hudson's, The Atlantic and the Galway Arms. These events are low-key, and there are usually specials for people who attend wearing Chicago Fire gear. These events are a great way to connect with other Fire fans if you are not already in inner circles. I would love to see these events turn into more of a pep-rally environment, building up excitement for the coming match, but they are great social events in the current format. You can read my review of the first Fire Friday here.

Player appearances/ autograph signings. The Fire host a number of autograph/meet-the-player type events. For example, Sean Johnson recently completed a series of autograph-signing events at Aldi stores. These types of events are great for kids - a lovely way to inspire the next generation of soccer fans. There were also a number of festivals over the summer where players make appearances. These events provide a way for Fire fans to meet players and connect right in their home towns. Some upcoming events include Wells Thompson at Meijer in Berwyn, and Gonzalo Segares and Shaun Francis at Dunkin Donuts off of Cicero. It is a great opportunity to meet players face to face. You can read more about these types of events from the summer here.

Watch Parties, bus trips and tailgates from the Harlem End. Even if you lack the tenacity to stand and cheer throughout an entire match in the Harlem end, Section 8 watch parties are a great way to watch a match and meet other fans. I most recently attended the watch party on 9/21/13 at Cleo's when the Fire took on arch rivals the Columbus Crew. The crowd for the party was rather sparse, which tends to happen when the Fire take on the Crew - so many fans hop the bus to torment their opponents in their home turf. The watch party was a great time despite the results and Cleo's is a great environment to watch a match. There are also Tailgate parties held before every home match. Consider participating in watch parties, tailgates and bus trips when possible.

Section 8 Board Meetings. I have a confession to make. In this space, I rail on topics of fan participation all the time, but I am guilty of a mortal sin: I have stood and sung in Section 8 for the last two years, but I have never once been to a Board Meeting. My guilt was so great that, right before writing this, I went onto the Section 8 website and contributed 20 bucks to the cause. Don't be like me. If you have an opinion - or even better, energy - to contribute Board Meetings are a great way to get involved. I just missed the last one on Wednesday October 2nd at the Atlantic, but good news! There is another one coming up on Wednesday November 6th, also at the Atlantic. Check out the Section 8 website to keep up on details.

Upcoming Events for the next couple weeks - Below is a list of upcoming events taken from a number of sources online, many from the Fire website which can be linked to here. This is not a complete list and I welcome any additions and feedback I encourage everyone to send all of their contributions.



Wells Thompson & Sparky @ Meijer

Wednesday, October 9

5:00PM – 6:30PM

Meijer (Store #264) – 7111 Cermak Road, Berwyn, IL 60402

Gonzalo Segares & Shaun Francis @ Dunkin Donuts

Thursday, October 10

3:00PM-4:30PM

Dunkin Donuts - 7905 S. Cicero Chicago, IL

Paolo Tornaghi & Sparky @ Meijer

Thursday, October 10

5:00PM – 6:30PM

Meijer (Store #263) - 950 Winston Plaza, Melrose Park, IL 60160

Libertyville Octoberfest

Friday, October 11

9:00AM – 8:00PM

Libertyville Township Soccer Complex – Libertyville, IL

Chicago Marathon Expo

Friday, October 11

9:00AM – 8:00PM

McCormick Place North – Level 3, Chicago, IL

Section 8 Watch Party

FC Dallas Vs. Chicago Fire

Sat, October 12,

6:30pm – 9:30pm

The Globe, 1934 W Irving Park Ave, Chicago, IL 606`3

Libertyville Octoberfest

Saturday, October 12

10:00AM – 4:00PM

Libertyville Township Soccer Complex – Libertyville, IL

Chicago Marathon Expo

Saturday, October 12

9:00AM – 6:00PM

McCormick Place North – Level 3, Chicago, IL

Special Olympics

Saturday, October 12

8:30AM – 10:00AM

Toyota Park

Libertyville Octoberfest

Saturday, October 13

9:00AM – 1:00PM

Libertyville Township Soccer Complex – Libertyville, IL

Fire Friday

Fri, October18

6:00-8:00

TBA

Section 8 Tailgate

Sat, October 19

5:00pm – 7:15pm

North Parking Lot, Toyota Park, 7000 S Harlem Ave, Bridgeview, IL 60455 (map)

Chicago Fire Vs. Toronto FC

Sat, October 19

7:30 pm

Toyota Park

Sparky / Street Team @ Frank Lloyd Wright Races

Sunday, October 20

8:00AM – 11:00AM

Oak Park River Forest High School – 201 North Scoville Avenue, Oak Park, IL

Downers Grove SoccToberfest

Sunday, October 20

9:00AM – 5:00PM

McCollum Park – 6821 Main Street, Downers Grove, IL 60516

I hope to see everyone at an upcoming event and I hope to hear back from each of you on your thoughts and experiences!

Chicago soccer community linkbomb!

http://chicagoredstars.com/

http://www.chicagosoulfc.com/?page_id=11

http://www.illinoissoccer.org/

http://www.s8c.org/

http://www.theatlanticbar.com/

http://theglobepub.net/

http://www.ajhudsonspublichouse.com/

http://www.cleosbar.com/info.php?R=OWS

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