The idea for final game tifo began couple of months ago with a quote from Teddy Roosevelt’s speech, Citizenship in the Republic. Its a powerful piece that goes like this:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Strong words and something we felt Ben and the team would feel a connection with. We zeroed in on a sentence that’s at the heart of the quote – “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,” but still needed something that would capture the sentiment behind the quote, and render it clear and tangible to the team.

As it turns out a very talented Australian artist adopted this quote into a comic strip. We ordered a print, framed it and several of us showed up at DCU training on Saturday to surprise players with it before the final game. Mercifully my speech is lost due to technical malfunction, but I basically said that this print is a reminder that we are behind the club in both crap seasons as well as championship years (and ones that are both), and that we are presenting it on behalf of the members of District Ultras, La Norte and the Screaming Eagles. It was a handy way to make the next day’s display make sense, to people we’d painted it for.

Of course, a mountain climber from the comic had to become a defiant, bloody-but-unbowed DC United player, courtesy of ridiculously talented local artist Linas.

I won’t bore you with the details of the tifo’s construction, but lets just say that out of the dozen people involved, a full third working on it (until 2/3am on work nights), did so despite knowing that they wouldn’t be able to make it to the game on Sunday. That, my friends, is dedication to the group and to the club. We started on Wednesday and finished, comfortably, on Saturday afternoon.

Here is the result, all 190 feet of it: