The following is a post by Sunday White.
So, I was standing there, in the cold and wet, waiting in line to have my Axe photos taken the other day, and an odd thing occurred.
A number of people that I have not met before, and who I do not usually see on match day, said to me some variation of “Capos have to wait in line, too?” or “Why are you waiting in line?”. I bet they would say the same thing to the Game Day Ops folks, any of the past or present board members, or the flag/rigging/tifo crews IF they knew them by face. In fact, I’ve since confirmed that this phenomenon has happened to my buddies in the DnT (Drums & Trumpets) who are, of course, visible, and usually pop up on video of a match when the mainstream media is showing “stadium atmosphere.”
It was odd. And really, I guess it was odd when it happened before, at random moments, across years of being involved with the 107IST as a capo with the TA and RCR, both at the stadium on match day and when I’m around town at work or running errands. This time it made me realize that what we do and how we do it is probably not understood by the newer fans or those that usually watch the match from outside of the GA section.
This may be due to some 107IST members’ modesty or a close-working network. On a larger, more common scale, though, I think it may be the non-supporter-group observers’ assumptions.
I really want to bash those assumptions out of the proverbial park.
All the people you see doing things on match day that are not wearing a stadium uniform, or official team or park company attire of some sort, are volunteers.
We are fans.
We buy our own tickets.
We buy our own 107IST memberships.
We are not staff.
We are not given perks.
We are not given payment.
We are not provided with benefits by the Front Office.
We (the capos, in particular) turn our backs on the pitch out of love for our clubs.
This is the same with the DnT. The tifo crew. The merchandise design team and the sales crew. The people passing out chant sheets at the concourse table. The people that arrive early to run all the stairs to put out flags and wall banners — and after jumping and singing for victory for 90+ minutes, they do it again after the match to clean up those flags. The folks that never get in early because they are collecting and reselling tickets at the Fanladen. The rigging crew that is there nights before, running roping so the tifo crew (there just after rigging does their magic so they can test the pulls) can get that amazing (and, again, volunteer-created) display up in the air. Then those same rigging badasses lose sight of the first 20 min (or more) of the match taking all those ropes back down. The 107IST board who all lose large portions of time and sleep trying to work together to make this amazing thing even better for the supporters. There are people dedicated to providing accurate website data, managing all our histories, managing social media accounts, being photographers and videographers, planning away day travel, communicating what the supporters groups are doing, providing ways to improve our communities, representing us at the ISC (Independent Supporters Council) annually, planning our charitable efforts, tree-planting, Oregon Food Bank, CPR classes, book clubs, and so much more.
ALL these things are done by volunteers. They do it by sacrificing free time, energy, sleep, money, bodies, and the ability to get pissed with friends while watching the match.
We do not do it for fame or fortune. We do not do it for TV ratings. We do not do this to make the FO happy.
We do this out of love for our clubs.
Take the time to see all the facets of this amazing organization that is being driven by the love of soccer and the love of our communities. Acknowledge all that these dedicated supporters do to make our united experience and our united show of love to the players on match day — for both of our Portland clubs — possible.
(I’m the crazy capo with the ’hawk)
PS: Now that you know a little bit more about us, you can see how varied our organization is and how much work we have to do. Give a thought about what you may be able to do to help. We are always looking for more volunteers. Just sign up!