When people ask me what 'tifo' is, I tell them it is the ultimate marriage of sport and art. After we agree that the ultimate marriage of sport and art could also be the ESPN sports documentary series '30 for 30', I go on to explain that tifo is anything that brings extra atmosphere or enthusiasm to you supporting the team. That is a very loose definition but it encompasses a wide arrange of things from flags, 'two poles', banners, confetti, even a scarf. The ultimate goal of tifo is to create an atmosphere that makes it inhospitable for opposing players to play the game without going over the extra step that causes physical harm. For example, throwing stuff onto the field is not tifo or perhaps it is but it is unacceptable tifo. You will and should get kicked out of the game if you participate in activities like that.
Some people think that tifo is regulated to designated fans but that is absolute hogwash. Anyone and everyone can bring their own tifo to the game and you are in fact encouraged to do so. You can even suggest your own designs to Section 8 Chicago and if everything works out (and you are willing to put in some effort and possibly some supplies yourself), your design might even be used for a main tifo display before a game. Section 8 can always help you with a banner and they provide flag poles at their tailgates before almost every game.
The start of the 2011 'tifo season' begins with the first tifo meeting of the year tonight, Wednesday, January 26, at The Abbey Pub, 3240 W. Grace Street in Chicago. You can attend to find out how you can help, what is going to be needed this year, and suggest some designs if you have them. This is an ongoing process and you can always go to the Section 8 Board page to contact the Director of Operations at the time being with your great idea for making the Columbus Crew buckle at the knees or have the New York Red Bulls feel like they just walked into a crowd of 1 million dudes looking to down an energy drink. As always if you appreciate the tifo but you can't commit the time, there is always the option to just give a straight donation to Section 8 and help fund the next great idea. Come on, certainly the video of Super Mario tifo against Seattle this year will convince you. It goes deep too as Chicago is old school vs. Seattle and Seattle also has the XBOX 360 sponsorship and Super Mario of course is Nintendo. You can see in the above picture how the tifo came together and you can read Jeff Crandall's story on Joel Biden, the 'mastermind' behind it all. It literally went from being designed to executed in a week or two. Finally to get all caught up on Section 8, be sure to check out Crandall's latest All-In: this time with Section 8 Chairman, Tom Dunmore. I'm off to give $5 to Section 8. I can't wait to see the next big tifo for 2011, my eternal thanks to them for making a great game atmosphere every time.