Sunday, February 1, 2009
Section 8 AGM
After spending the morning at The Globe yesterday with Red Stars coaches Emma Hayes and Denise Reddy and staff members Alyse Lahue and Billy Barmes watching EPL action, we all went over to Section 8 Chicago's Annual General Meeting at Schuba's.
The meeting and uncommonly sunny and warm day made the soccer season seem close at hand after a long and frigid winter.
American soccer supporters organizations and "Annual General Meetings" don't always go together, but S8C is not your typical American supporters organization. It is a formal non-profit with elected officers, significant budgets and regular board meetings. S8C's leadership, including its first and current chairmen, Ben Burton and Marcin Tlustochowicz, are behind the professional nature of this independent supporters association.
That doesn't mean their meetings are staid formal affairs. Yesterday's 90 minute (appropriately) affair involved much imbibing of alcoholic beverages and plenty of good hearted vulgar put downs of fellow supporters in Schuba's staged music room, which is part of one of the north side's historic Schlitz tavern.
Meeting highlights included:
* Birthday boy Chairman Ben accepting whiskey shots from the crowd during his "State of Section 8" address. Updates were provided on the replacement of the megabandera (will happen sometime this year) and the development of a fan charter/bill of rights patterned after similar club/supporters agreements prevalent in Europe.
* The $7k+ check presentation by new Chicago Fire VP of Sales and Marketing Mike Humes. i had a chance to speak with Mike afterwards and came away impressed with his experience and understanding of his task at hand. It is great to see the team and supporters back on the same page as the new season approaches).
* Election of officers including Vice-Chairman Tom Dunmore, Treasurer Mario Ortega, Director of Merchandise Jim Schifeling, Director of Operations Mike Giacometti and i think i'm co-assistant, w/Miri Ceballos, to new S8C Marketing Director Melissa Hamming.
* And an update from me on the Red Stars...including our super secret, not yet official news of three more international signings and a schedule change that will allow Fire fans to attend the first Red Stars game in St. Louis without missing the Fire's April 5th home opener. All this news should be made public and official later this week.
* Post meeting social. Among others, i enjoyed drinking a couple of Schlabst™ (my soon to be trademarked hybrid recipe combining the great tastes of native Milwaukee beers Schlitz and Pabst Blue Ribbon!) and speaking again with Jackie Rodgers from Best Buy, Karl Schuster from Whiskey Bros '05 and Ian McNally from Mike Ditka Street Crew.