Choreography pranks

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When a group of Yale students pranked Harvard fans to raise the cards that read "WE SUCK"

You probably have seen it during the important matches between big clubs or probably the last derby in your city which defined the champion of the league. Depending on where you live, you may call it Choreography, tifo, card stunt or mosaic and it is becoming more and more common to see such displays before the games. The importance of the support from the stands is priceless for the players. It gives them strength to carry on in the toughest moments of the game. That's the reason why the home court gives such advantage for the teams or individuals in any sport. Now imagine a player which is playing at home and all of a sudden a tifo display emerges from the home side that is supporting the guest team... As absurd as it might seem, Tifo pranks has happened in many occasions which even date back to decades ago. It seems that nothing has changed ever since as we still see unsuspecting fans who want to participate in something good, end up in a a trap or the adversary to make fun of it for years to come...

You might ask why and how the hell they still happen?

Here are some stories... In 1961, during the famous Rose Bowl Game, one of the most epic pranks, actually the best school prank in school history for the time being, took place. Lyn Hardy and a friend, Caltech juniors at the time, managed to get both the card-stunt instruction card and the master instructions from the hotel rooms of the Washington cheerleaders team. Then they substituted part of the choreo, stamped out a new set of 2,232 individual instruction cards, and finally reentered the cheerleaders' room and replaced the original master plans in the satchel where they'd found them. During the game, as the first twelve stunts had been left unaltered, nothing seemed out of place. But the image shown in the 12th stunt, which was supposed to be a husky, looked instead like a beaver, Caltech's mascot. The 13th stunt was supposed to spell out "Washington" in script flowing from left to right, as if being written from on high, but instead it flowed out backward, from right to left. Finally, in the 14th stunt came the coup de grace: a block "CALTECH," in black letters on a white background.

 

About 40 years later, Mike Kai and David Aulicino were seniors at Yale in 2004 when they, along with 20 friends dressed as the fictional "Harvard Pep Squad," boldly entered Harvard's football stadium and convinced close to 2,000 unsuspecting Crimson fans to help spell out two words — "WE SUCK." The prank duo had been planning an ambitious project for the annual Harvard Crimson-Yale Bulldogs football game — a massive event for both universities known simply as "The Game": getting Harvard fans to unknowingly spell out an embarrassing message.

"WE SUCK."

 

In more recent times precisely in 2016, Steaua Bucharest's stadium display before Tuesday's Champions League match against Manchester City was sabotaged by rival supporters in what has been called one of the biggest pranks in football history. Undercover Dinamo Bucharest fans planned the prank perfectly. They placed coloured vests on the chairs in a section of the stands at the 55,634-seat National Arena in the Romanian capital and unsuspecting fans put them on just before kick-off. Instead of displaying a message celebrating Steaua's 1986 win, theirs said: 'Doar Dinamo Bucharest' (Only Dinamo Bucharest) in the red-and-white colours of Dinamo.

Steaua fans were trolled by their rivals Dinamo  Bucharest!

 

The reason why we started Stadiugraph

All the mentioned pranks have one thing in common and as far as we can see the problem is that the fans were considered a passive participant whose role is only representing a pixel of the image. In many cases the fans did not have any clue of what was supposed to be displayed and they had no say in the message itself. They arrived at the stadium and saw a colored vest/hat/card on the seat and they were only supposed to raise it with the signal of the real or fake cheerleaders.

From the very beginning of the conception of the Stadiugraph, our vision was to change this paradigm... What if we create a tool which enables every fan to propose and design a choreography message? What if the designs were shortlisted in a transparent voting system that allowed all the peers supporters to vote and evaluate the designs? Having such tool we can finally introduce tifo as a new medium by which fans can express themselves and make statements that represent the entire fanclub and not a small group of leaders or eventual pranksters. We have been working of such a tool and we are very close to its launch :) Stay tuned