Words do matter & the power of community

Yesterday The Howler published another article in their Bleachers Full of Women series. This article, Bleachers Full of Women: Debate Over Timbers Army Chant Show Why Words Matter, hit closer to home than the previous two (and that’s saying a lot), as I was interviewed for the piece and was able to reflect on my personal experiences as a female supporter of the Chicago Fire. Author Gaby Kirschner not only ties together issues that the Timbers Army and Section 8 Chicago (S8C) are faced with, but also connects their frustrations to Sarah Spain and Julie DiCaro’s #MoreThanMean video.

Kirschner touches base on the impact that words have on the women in Major League Soccer’s supporters’ culture. As Kirschner said, “words have an impact, whether part of a tradition, meant seriously, or not.” I couldn’t agree more.

Since sharing Kirschner’s article via Twitter ( both via my personal account @nikhak and via @section8chicago) there have been mixed reactions. Some have been off-putting and difficult to read like the sarcastic tweet below.

Maud Squiers, who was also quoted in the article, reacts to article responses that she received on Twitter this morning.

Overall, however, Kirschner’s article was well-received. My first tweet about it received 25 retweets and 37 likes. Section 8 Chicago’s tweet was also received more positively than not.

Continue reading “Words do matter & the power of community”

Meet the Man Behind Fire Confidential: Guillermo Rivera

In 2009, I had the opportunity to cover the Chicago Red Stars at Chicago Tribune’s ChicagoNow – an online blogging community. Because of my affiliation with ChicagoNow, I also started following Fire Confidential, a blog covering the Chicago Fire at the same blogging community, Over the years, Fire Confidential has become one of the most credible sources for Fire news, thanks to the hard work and dedication of Guillermo Rivera.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Rivera. I hope you enjoy getting to know the man behind Fire Confidential as much as I did.

Fire Confidential
Graphic: Nicole Hack | Logos: Fire Confidential

When did you first start Fire Confidential?

GR: Fire Confidential was started in 2009 as part of Chicago Tribune’s ChicagoNow blogging community. The Fire Confidential blog essentially replaced the Tribune’s “Red Card” blog, which was written by their last full-time soccer reporter, Luis Arroyave. Luis was reassigned to the Entertainment and Nightlife beat and the Trib decided not to replace him with a full-time soccer reporter. The original Fire Confidential writer was Sam Stejskal, who is now a contributor at MLSsoccer.com. I commented more frequently than other commenters on both blogs and began interaction with Sam via Fire Confidential.

What motivated you to start Fire Confidential?

GR: I didn’t technically “start” it, although the content is somewhat different than it originally was presented. Early in 2010, Sam received and accepted an offer to begin covering the Fire for MLSsoccer.com. This left a void and the Trib/ChicagoNow apparently had no one in mind to replace him. I felt that there wasn’t any other outlet available to Fire fans for actual coverage of the club and didn’t want the work that Luis and Sam put into reporting go to waste. I felt that “real”, daily Fire coverage was about to disappear, and I didn’t want that to happen.

I had an idea in mind of how the blog should be presented. I thought that there should be an outlet that covered and discussed the Fire in the same manner that all other major sports teams in the city were handled. It didn’t exist anywhere else in this market. Although the Sun-Times and Daily Herald had reporters assigned to the team – space and coverage was still limited.

I reached out to Sam and he put me in touch with ChicagoNow’s community manager, Jimmy Greenfield, and I pitched him my idea. He was more than happy to find someone who seemed passionate about covering the team, especially at the rates that were being offered, and he handed me the keys to the blog in April of 2010. My motivation for taking over Fire Confidential was based almost entirely on my feeling and desire to keep Fire discussion alive in someplace more mainstream than message boards like BigSoccer.

Continue reading “Meet the Man Behind Fire Confidential: Guillermo Rivera”