Fighting Stripes: a New Era

Photo Credit: Esther Oh ( on Instagram)

I am writing to share some exciting news and an update on the future of the Tavern. As you know, I’ve been here with the Tavern for over 3 years, as I began writing for the Tavern in late 2017. At the time our Taegeuk Warriors were squeaking by in World Cup qualifying and needed a last-minute manager change before going to Russia (turbulent times).

Since then, I’ve become home at this site, getting to share my love for the national team with our great audience. This year has been especially difficult for the world, but it has been a year where a vision for a brand new site came to fruition.

It was during the pandemic when Albert and I were recording podcast episodes during the COVID19 lockdown ( There was no live football to talk about but we knew that it could bring comfort and joy for us and our listeners to record during the pandemic. So Albert and I brainstormed that maybe it would be fun to get into pop culture and talk about the Korean dramas and variety shows we love watching. The Tavern Watchlist was born.

Over the summer, this idea matured into something bigger. What if we could launch a brand-new site that covered not only football, but all of the Korean sports and culture we love? What if we could make podcasts about TV, American sports, and music, all told from the perspective of the Korean diaspora voices at the Tavern? What if we could bring together an audience with a huge passion for “Korean Football. Korean Everything”? Welcome to Fighting Stripes.

Fighting Stripes is a new website dedicated to exploring our love for Korean culture in our own voices. We’ve all seen the coverage of K-Pop grow over the years and more articles come out about the Hallyu Wave. But, Korean diaspora writers haven’t gotten the same opportunity to tell these stories; we see mainstream media outlets tasking mostly White journalists with covering the stories. Fighting Stripes will be a chance for us to share our voice on Korean sports, culture, and everything. It will be a brand-new media platform to talk about the things we love, straight from the community.

As we move into this new era, a huge thank you is due to the original Tavern crew that was led by Roy Ghim. I’m talking about Jinseok, Tim, Nicole, Chi Soo, Takeuchi, Steve Han, Steve Price, Tomas Marcantonio, Jeremy Paek, and Jae Chee. The Tavern was built on your hard work and we’re so excited to build something in your honor. Our designer, Esther Oh, did this picture as a tribute to the inspiration for beginning the Tavern, our famous Bronze Medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

Please join us over at the new website. It’s brand-new, has plenty of football and Korean culture articles for you to read. Give us your feedback on the look of the new site, check out our growing podcast offerings, and join us in building up a new community. If you want to donate and support the growth of this new site, please visit our new Patreon.

I just want to thank all of the readers that have been reading, commenting, and interacting with this site. Roy hopes to provide an update on what he wants to do with this site very soon, but we hope to see you all at our new Fighting Stripes website.

I also finally want to thank the Fighting Stripes crew that has been working so hard to make this new site and Podcast Network happen. A huge thank you to Albert and Esther for cooking up all of the branding and artwork for our new website. I’m artistically-challenged so designing beautiful art to launch this new site was something I needed great help with. Esther knocked it out of the park and continues to come up with original art that I am so amazed by. Also, to the writers and podcasters that are working with us out of the passion they have for Korean sports and culture, I am beyond blessed to have you all on my team. I’m talking about Namu, Allen, Bennett, Christian, David, Gordon, Jason, Joon, JoshSpice, Kevin, Lex, Liv, Paul, and Sujin. I am so excited to build and create something with yall.

I think I should end with a traditional Korean saying that really provided inspiration for Fighting Stripes: HWAITING!

About Michael Welch 89 Articles
That Halfie Korean-American who loves football (I mean, soccer).

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