A partisan opinion of Cleveland

By Geoff Stellfox

This article originally appeared in The DePaulia on Oct. 31st, 2016 and has been reposted with permission

In .43 seconds, Google has 3,940,000 hits on a search of why Cleveland sucks.

“This article is going to be a piece of cake,” I think to myself while a broad grin spreads across my face. I just hope I can fit all these jokes I’m about to write in under 1,000 words.

It’s true. I do hate Cleveland. It’s a depressing city in the second worst state in the U.S. (behind Florida). Calling their football team a dumpster fire would be offensive to dumpsters, and all of their sports teams combined have won one title since 1964.

Worse yet, they’re playing the Cubs in the World Series. It’s a perfect storm of sports hatred, but I need more. I need to bury this place.

“I don’t like saying mean things, but I used to drive through Cleveland in college on my way back home to Buffalo,” my mom said. “Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the sun there.”

Even my mom can get on the ‘I hate Cleveland’ bandwagon.

My family somehow managed to get tickets and we headed to Cleveland for Game 2 of the World Series. As my mom predicted, the streak of grey depression continues – Game 2’s starting time has been moved up an hour to try to get the game in before heavy storms roll through, and the outlook is already pretty bleak. It’s been raining for the better part of the afternoon and there’s a 50 percent chance of precipitation at game time. I look out the window at the scenery and I see cornfields all the way up to the horizon. It’s been this way for two hours across Ohio and another three in Indiana.

“In 2015, Cleveland was the fifth most dangerous City in the USA,” according to the FBI. In 1952, the Cuyahoga River caught on fire due to over pollution. This is just too easy.

The silhouette of buildings eventually breaks up the flat horizon. “Hey, abandoned factories, we must be here,” I quip.

Not even a smirk or a chuckle. Whatever. I think I’m funny, and that’s all that matters.

We’re staying outside the city, hoping to get partway home tonight, so we head straight to Progressive Field.  I’m handed my ticket, and just as we hop out of the car, the weather begins to break. Not quite sunlight, but there’s no rain, and I’m assuming this is the best Cleveland gets in terms of weather. Along the two-block walk to the stadium, the streets, businesses and bars are covered with images and the logos of the Indians and Cavaliers.

I’ve experienced the crosstown classic, which has traditionally been rife with parking lot skirmishes and heavy drinking to forget just how bad our respective teams have been. I’ve suffered Cardinals fans, the self-titled “best fans in baseball,” who believe that they are the baseball God’s chosen people and that World Series glory is their divine right – saying we’re merely peasants usurping their throne. Then there’s Brewers fans, most of whom are more passionate about Miller Lite and encased meat than their team (who could blame them),  Dodgers fans, whom I’m pretty sure are just a myth, and those random Royals fans, like my editor, who are sprinkled around Chicago, leaving us wondering “how the hell did you get here?” But I’m admittedly inexperienced when it comes to the finer points of Cleveland Indians fans. 

I feel a tap on my shoulder.

“Excuse me, but you dropped this.”

I turn around and standing behind me is a little boy, probably around ten years old, holding a grey mitten. It must’ve fallen out of my pocket. His eyes wander up and he notices my royal blue Cubs hat. “Go tribe!” he says as he tosses me my glove and runs off to join his parents. Ok, not all Indians fans can be that polite, right? I’ve still got plenty of reasons to hate them.

The atmosphere around Progressive Field is surprisingly muted, but the stadium is impressive nonetheless. We enter through the outfield and are greeted by a panorama view of the stadium and diamond. Instead of the mayhem that is Wrigleyville on game days, this scene is quiet and orderly. There’s a surprising amount of Cubs fans, but no animosity as of yet. We’re passed by a group of fans wearing headdresses.

“Casual racism everywhere, yet the name of their stadium is Progressive field. I need to write that one down. Classic Cleveland.” I’m so clever.

We wander around the outfield seats, past the Fox Sports World Series broadcast. We see Frank Thomas, A-Rod, Pete Rose, along with the rest of the team and a small group of fans has gathered around the stage. They’re two distinct factions here, and you can tell where each individual falls by what they’re shouting. Half are telling Rose that he should be in the Hall of Fame; the other half are asking him for the betting lines on the game. There is no middle ground.

As we head to our seats, I’m struck by the quality of food available. I saw authentic tacos, steak sandwiches and a grilled cheese called the ‘parmageddon’ which is apparently stuffed with sauerkraut, caramelized onions and pierogi, along with two types of cheese. This, I could get used to. They even have wine glasses with lids on them so you can cheer and not spill.

While in line for tacos, an Indians fan not wearing a headdress strikes up a conversation with me. We don’t support the same team, so this is a foreign concept for me.

“How was the drive? Sorry this is such a rotten day to be out here.”

We continue our small talk, and I ask what he thinks about Cubs fans and their chances in the series. I mentally prepare my comeback for the trash talk that’s inevitably on it’s way. Finally, I get to test out the zingers I’ve been saving up for my article.

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Photo credit: Geoff Stellfox/The DePaulia.

“Man, we know what it’s like to wait for so long to win. I feel your pain,” he says, laughing. “I’d hate to break your hearts, but I think we’ve got a great chance to win the Series. At the end of the day though, we’re just happy to have the chance to win two titles in a year.” The worst part is that he says this without an ounce of sting or malice. It’s coming from a place of empathy; this guy has felt the pain of being a Cleveland Sports fan his whole life and knows what failing to live up to expectations feels like. He’s making me feel like a bad person.

When the game finally starts, they don’t even boo our players. Silence.

One run in the first, again, no boos, just silence.

“Please, give me something to hate you for.” In my head I’m trying to figure a way to make this Cleveland sucks piece work out. Even after a three-run fifth inning, there’s very little hate coming from the fans. There’s just mostly silence, despite loud cheers from the surprisingly large Cubs following in the stadium. When the camera pans to the fans between innings, the operator struggles to find shots without any Cubs fans in the background. “Go Tribe Go” chant are constantly getting hijack into becoming pro-Chicago.

By the eighth inning, the stadium has started to empty and the Indians are getting crushed on home turf. Designated hitter Kyle Schwarber has almost completed his hostile takeover of the city and has all but declared himself mayor of Cleveland.

Bottom of the ninth, two outs and Roberto Perez grounds out to short, game over. Suddenly the sea of royal blue still in stadium becomes a mass of white W flags and you can hear faint renditions of “Go Cubs Go.” The Indians fans aren’t putting up much of a fight.

As we make our way down from the nosebleeds, a few fans behind us tell us to have a safe trip home.

“So, do you feel like a jerk yet?” my sister asked.

She obviously doesn’t comprehend my lack of conscience, however I have rethought what I’m going to write. I won’t endorse Cleveland, or say it’s a cool city and I’m definitely not going on vacation there. But the fans were brilliant, the food and stadium are amazing and J.R. Smith is a national treasure.  I’m excited to be back in Chicago, but I will say that Cleveland doesn’t suck, too much.

Missed Our Open House?

If you missed our Graduate Open House this past Thursday, don’t worry! Here is a recap:

The MALS/IDS program is a interdisciplinary, self-constructed MA/MS program. As a part of this program, you design your own degree and pick your graduate level courses from a myriad of disciplines. As a result, you will have a very uniquely focused path of study that blends skills and subject matter from a whole host of courses around our university.

Who are our students? We’ve gathered quick bios of  some of our unique students.  You can check those out here.

You can also take a look at  a copy of our newsletter, Convergence. Within Convergence, you will find samples of our students’ work and more information about our program. You can download a copy here.

You can always contact us for information at 773-325-7840 and arrange a personal informational interview.

Study Group Resources

Study groups can be an invaluable research at DePaul. Putting your heads together with classmates and colleagues can not only help you succeed in your work, but other students, as well. If you are looking for ways to set up a study group, here are some ideas to help you:

  • One way students communicate is through the DePaul University Facebook pages. (There is no graduate student page that I can find, unfortunately.) You can try making a post on DePaul’s Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Facebook page and see if anyone replies.
  • Try asking a professor/department to send out an email asking if anyone is interested in forming a study group. They can send out an email to their students or advertise a study group in class.
  • Keep an eye out for clubs that advertise studying together. Some groups will host studying events near midterms and finals, and you can always ask them if they would be open to getting together every so often to study together.
  • Sometimes, students send out emails to their class asking if any classmates would be interested in studying together. You can send an email out to your classlist via D2L (under the classlist tab on your class page).
  • DePaul’s official site writes this: “A number of informal opportunities such as tutoring and student study groups also exist. More information can be found on your academic department website or by talking to your academic advisor and professors.” So, there may be study groups with specific focuses advertised within certain departments. Ask around!
  • Once you have a group together, you can rent out a space in the library to study together. Information for how to do so is here.

Fall Quarter Survival Guide

Welcome to the new school year and the start of Fall Quarter 2016, MALS and IDS students! Here are some tips to surviving the quarter:

  • If you have any program questions, please contact us directly. Even though all of our program information is on D2L, we are happy to talk through any questions you may have. You can call our office at 773-325-7840 or visit us at 2327 N. Racine Avenue.
  • Please do make use of DePaul’s wonderful student resources, which exist to help you succeed during your time as a graduate student. The Writing Center, Ask a Librarian, Adult Services, DePaul Central, and the Career Center are all really wonderful tools that you should seek out.
  • Take time to get re-acquainted with Campus Connect and our Community Site on D2L. Doing so will help you to understand where to go for information, registration help, financial aid, and more. If you have any questions about these sites, please feel free to contact us. If you have trouble logging on or accessing your accounts, contact the Technology Support Center at 312-362-8765.
  • Get to know your professors and your classmates this quarter. Your professors may have interesting resources to share with you if you just ask them. If you establish a relationship with your professors, you may be able to call on them in the future for your final projects. Similarly, it is always a good idea to find a buddy in your class who you can discuss class material with and ask to fill you in if you are ever absent.
  • Try new foods before and after classes. Take a look at a list we compiled of places that take a DePaul Demon Discount or cool places to eat and study.
  • Don’t forget to relax! Check out our upcoming events page and our Facebook page for information about fun events coming up that will give you a well-deserved break from studying.

Free Technology for DePaul Students

As students living in the age of rapid technological developments, keeping up with the day to day changes can be difficult and expensive. If you are feeling lost or strapped for cash (or both), it is important to know about all the free technology available for DePaul students that can keep you updated and free from reaching for your wallet. Check out the available resources that we’ve listed for you below.

Software & Hardware

  • You can get free software as a DePaul student through the DePaul website, such as Adobe and Microsoft. The software can be downloaded on a personal device, which is very convenient for days that you do not feel like making the trek to the library to use a computer.
  • On both campuses, there are a variety of labs that offer computers equipped with the necessary software that you need. You can check this site to see which lab suits your individual needs.
  • The library has also compiled a list of mobile databases, apps, and browser tools for you to install on your personal devices that will help you to access items at the library.
  • Companies like Apple, Amazon, Dell, and Lenovo also offer deals to students on their hardware and software. The Daily Dot has put together a list of deals you can get from these companies and more just for being a student.

Technology Lending

  • The library lends a variety of technological devices and accessories out to students for them to use (at a first come, first serve basis). You can rent charging cords and batteries, cables, video game equipment, headphones, calculators, DVD/CD drives, and webcams by checking them out at the circulation desk. For more information, visit the lending informational page here.
  • Students in digital classes also have access to resources from the Department of Art, Media, and Design, such as A/V equipment, computer labs, studios, high quality printers and scanners, and photography equipment. Visit the resources page for more information.

Printing, Scanning, and Copying

  • There are printers, scanners, and copiers available on campus for your use. You can use your free printing funds on your DePaul ID to use these machines. Printing and copying is available in color for extra money, and you are able to print posters in the library, as well.

Help & Tutorials

  • Both the Genius Squad and the Technology Support Center are available to assist you with any problems you should have with your technology.
  • Lynda.com: This site is a resource for business, technology, and online learning that gets users acclimated with various sites, apps, and other technological devices. As DePaul students, you have free access to the site with your Campus Connect username and password. All you have to do is follow this link to get started.
  • Media Production and Training: If you need help with technology or media production, this site can train you. Look at their event calendar for training programs.

A Guide to Free WiFi and Charging Stations

When you are on the go as a graduate student, it can be hard to keep all of your devices juiced up and ready to use. Going without WiFi can leave a huge dent in your next phone bill, and if you forget your charger, it’s game over, right? Well, fear not! We have searched the Chicagoland area for you and come up with a list of free WiFi hot spots and charging stations for you to use.

Free WiFi

  • DePaul has free WiFi available to all of its students on its campuses. To join, select the DePaul secure network on your device under WiFi and enter your Campus Connect username and password to log in.
  • The Metra stations are all equipped with free WiFi under the name “Metra Wi-Fi.” The hot spots are available in the following areas according to the Tribune:
    • “At Union Station, the hot spot and charging station are near the Metra ticketing area between the north and south concourses.”
    • “At Millennium, the Wi-Fi hot spot covers the passenger waiting area in the center of the station, where the charging stations were installed.”
    • “At Van Buren, the hot spot reaches the north and south portions of the waiting area and both charging stations.”
    • “At Ogilvie, Wi-Fi is available in the platform-level waiting area as well as around the charging stations on the ground floor in the passenger concourse.”
    • “At LaSalle Street, the hot spot covers the outdoor concourse and the indoor waiting area.”
  • OpenWiFiSpots is a site you can use to find free WiFi hot spots around the city. All you need to do is type in your location, and the site will show you locations around you where you can get free WiFi.
  • Both Apple and Android have apps that you may download and use to find free WiFi:
    • WifiMapper from Android allows you to pull up a map based on your location with input from other users as to which spots are yay or nay.
    • WiFi Map from Apple displays a map of WiFi spots around your area, but it also shows comments from users in regard to whether or not the WiFi and location were satisfactory. This app also lists passwords for free WiFi that users may or may not know about when trying to connect.

Charging Stations

  • DePaul has gone green! Check out the solar panel charging stations in the LPC Quad and the Loop campus. You only need to supply the cord to charge your device in either an electrical outlet or USB port. Neat, right?
  • Both the Loop and Richardson libraries have portable battery packs for you to check out that come with the necessary cords for either an Apple or Android device. You can request these at the circulation desk.
  • You can also check out an Apple or Android USB cable from the libraries to charge your phone.
  • Chicago Union Station, Millennium Station, Ogilvie Transportation Center have charging stations for all of you commuters.
  • According to the Tribune, there are free phone charging kiosks located in the following stores: