DCU Gets Support From Dark Cyde
The Barra Brava and Screaming Eagles monopolize Washington's "Look! Soccer crazies!" media attention, and rightfully so. But if you're always staring at their bouncing side of the par,k you might miss some of the team's other vibrant supporters groups. Like, say the Dark Cyde.
That three-year-old group's membership is a bit vague--its founder said there are about five members--but that founder more than makes up for the small numbers. He is Darth Hooligan, and he is awesome. Witness the District logo tattooed on his left arm, the red-and-black DC Shoes on his feet, the stuffed United mascot hanging from his midsection, the No. 69 "Darth Hooligan" jersey around his torso, the $10 Target light saber twitching in his hands, and the self-applied Darth Maul-inspired red-and-black paint on his face. Yesterday his hair was out, adorned by two feathers; "usually, I wear my little devil hat," he said, as his friends gleefully displayed his red and black skull cap.
"It's a beautiful act, man," said Javier Pleitez, Darth's co-worker and section-mate in the front of 115. "He lives out the people's spirit."
Darth declined to provide his real name--"I mean, every super hero has a secret identity," he said--but said he's a 24-year-old D.C. native who's been coming to United games since the team's inaugural season. He used to arrive dressed "just regular," but about three years ago inspiration descended.
"One day I was watching 'Star Wars Episode I,' and it just hit me, out of the blue," he explained. "You know how Darth Maul is red and black? I'm starting my own supporters club called the Dark Cyde. Come as any villain in any movie, as long as you wear red and black."
The choices are theoretically endless, as long as you can imagine, say, Norman Bates sporting red and black face paint. Anyhow, why villains? Darth said that United is the New England Patriots of the MLS, at once dominant and reviled league-wide, the unbeatable standard hanging over every rival club. Villainous, in other words.
Sure, his signature move with the light saber is a throat slash, but it's to his own throat, and to be honest he seems generally more loud than evil. He bellows "Red, Black, Attack Attack Attack!" for several minutes at a time, and has a "Where the dogs at?!?" chant that involves intense woofing.
"Just start barking, he'll come," advised another neighbor, Andy Wagner, when I said I was looking for Darth. "He's nuts," Wagner added, affectionately.
Indeed, people seem to appreciate their neighborhood stadium bad guy; he's posed for hundreds of pictures with fellow fans, can't walk through the concourse without getting stopped, and had to interrupt our interview to take a snapshot with an admirer. An admirer who, I should note, was not dressed like a red-and-black villain. So even if Section 115 of RFK never fills with dozens of Freddy Kruegers and Hannibal Lecters in United gear, and even if "The City Council" remains the first answer when you ask most United supporters about their favorite villains, Darth Hooligan has his niche.
"We love him, everybody loves him, people come to see him," Pleitez summarized. "It's a beautiful thing. It shows a lot of character, you know, like a real fan should be."
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