Some DePaul students absent from polls

As many people across the United States of America will be exercising their freedom of speech and their right to vote in the 2018 state primary election on Tuesday.

Republican candidate Bruce Rauner and democrat J.B. Pritzker, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune

While a vast portion of DePaul University students made it a point to go to polling stations on Tuesday, a steady collection of the university’s attendees conveniently casted their absentee ballots if Illinois is not their home state.

But not everyone on campus will be deploying their ticket to democracy in this election. Brandon Sommer, for instance, has decided not to vote on Tuesday because he feels apathetic to both republican candidate Bruce Rauner, as well as J.B. Pritzker of the democrat party.

“It’s sad, but I don’t trust either candidate, and I don’t feel any positive attachment to one of the parties this time around at all,” said Sommer, who is a junior at DePaul.

Minnesota native Dillon Orth, who contrarily would have liked to vote in the midterms, but he blamed his school midterms and his busy schedule for getting in the way of mailing in a ballot to his home state.

Other DePaul students didn’t exactly ‘forget’ to vote like Orth did, or choose to abstain from participating in this election like Sommer did. The international segment of DePaul’s student body was naturally prohibited from this process altogether given their status as an alien in the United States.

“I wish I could vote. That would be great. I think right now the political climate is a little bit strange for international students. So being able to have a voice right now would be great,” said Jennifer Kuo, a graduate student at DePaul who studies marketing analysis.

Kuo is Taiwanese and has only lived in North America for under a year, but she would like to settle in the states permanently following her graduation in 2019. However, since the Trump administration took over in 2016, she admits that her status as an international student has made it more difficult for her to plan out her future.

U.S. President Donald J. Trump, courtesy of CNN

“It’s been more stressful for sure. I thought it would be easy because I have a stem degree, so after I graduate I can do three years working here. So, I thought ‘well, I’ll have three years to get my things together,’ but I keep hearing in the news that they’re going to change this, or that, so I don’t know if by the time I graduate if things will be different. So, there’s just a lot of question marks as an international student.”

In Taiwan, Kuo described the electoral process as being slightly more convenient for those like Dillon Orth, who have busy schedules and may not prioritize voting ahead of other personal commitments.

“I think back home we have a lot more locations where you can go vote. And it also runs for the entire day back home. I know the polls here close at six or seven o’clock here in the states, but for us it runs throughout the night. And our elections are always on the weekend as well,” Kuo explained.

Anamika, an international student at DePaul from India, echoed the sentiments of Kuo in terms of wishing she could be participating in the American primaries.

“It’s tough, especially when you know you want to stay here long-term, and everything else that I’m doing here contributes to society, but you’re not given the ability to vote. It kind of hurts,” she said on Tuesday.

Skyline of Chicago via the Chicago Tribune

Meanwhile, despite remaining hopeful that she may one day be able to contribute to democracy in America, Anamika did indicate that she is still learning how the process works in this country compared to back home in India.

“India is also a democratic country just like here, so people always talk about it and people have their opinions. One thing that is different is that there I have a say and I can vote, and I can be part of all the discussions and my vote matters there,” Anamika said.

Anamika also joked that while she is not allowed vote, she is not aware of any law that prohibits her to follow the results; and she looks forward to doing so.

Chicago can come together via sports

Longtime Chicago sports writer Fred Mitchell has felt the wrath of racial segregation during his 41 year career at the Chicago Tribune. Although the city’s team reflect aspects of the divide in Chicago, Mitchell believes that citizens can look to these teams differently, and see how people of different origin can work together.

In a city like Chicago, where the words “multiculturalism” and “diversity” only scratch the surface in terms of describing the largest metropolitan city in the Midwest, there is a wide variety of cultural diffusion.

This highly segregated city a hot spot for art, music, sports, and entertainment, and in a setting that is practically defined by the differences of its inhabitants, many Chicagoans rally around the town’s sports teams. And in part, the city’s teams and fan bases actually reflect these very differences.

“For myself, growing up on the south side of Chicago as part of a hard working family, I follow a certain approach to my everyday life that was instilled in me by my parents from an early age,” said Shawn Lipson, a 25 year old construction worker from the city’s Pilsen neighborhood.

Like a lot of south siders, Lipson and his family root for the Chicago White Sox when it comes time to enjoy America’s pastime.

“As a family, we always watched the Chicago White Sox because we’ve embraced the same blue collar mentality that this team stands for. Our team might not spend as much money as the Cubs do, but the White Sox have never afraid to get their nose dirty in order to compete with some of the richer clubs,” Lipson explained.

Guaranteed Rate Field, home of the Chicago White Sox.

Similarly, Stephanie Christopher’s family cheers for the White Sox because when she was a child those were the only baseball games her family could afford to go to.

“My sister and I grew up in Little Italy, and our parents worked for the city. We always went to more White Sox games because honestly they were a lot more affordable,” said Christopher.

Guaranteed Rate Field
Area outside Guaranteed Rate Field.

Conversely, Tyler Green and his family said that he and his siblings were raised only to root for the Cubs. Growing up in Lakeview, he said that Cubs baseball was like a religion, “In my opinion, the Cubs are Chicago’s team, and I could never see myself cheering for the Sox,” offered Green.

According to longtime sports journalist Fred Mitchell, who wrote for the Chicago Tribune for 41 years, this longtime disparity between Cubs and White Sox fans is a microcosm of a reality that exceeds far beyond Chicago’s baseball sphere.

Head shot of adjunct professor Fred Mitchell, courtesy of DePaul University

“It’s always sort of been the elephant in the room conversation about the Cubs and the White Sox and the north siders and the south siders,” Mitchell explained. “The south siders are sort of generalized by referring to them as sort of blue collared, and the north siders are the more affluent. And a lot of the paranoia from south siders and White Sox fans has emanated because of the fact that they feel they’re thought of as being inferior,” he added.

Mitchell began his sports writing career at the Tribune in early 1970s, and as an African American man himself, he felt the effects of segregation throughout the course of his prolific career.

“Well certainly early on in my career there were bumps in the road shall we say. I remember getting letters, name calling, death threats,” he recounted.

“I remember the first time my picture appeared in the newspaper, because before it used to be just the byline, but when my picture appeared then I got some reaction. People would say ‘oh, I thought you were white, the way you write’ or something like that. Like you know, a backhanded compliment. So I would get that kind of feedback, and I always sort of felt that I had something to prove with each new editor that came in. I felt like I had to show him or her what I was capable of doing,” said Mitchell, who now serves as an adjunct professor at DePaul University.

But according to the award winning writer, the citizens of Chicago who may feel divided by race or nationality, or by their socio-economic standing, should actually look to sports for inspiration.

“The unique thing about sports, is that teams are comprised of athletes from various ethnic groups. So to the extent that Chicago is considered one of if not the most segregated city in America, to have athletic teams that are comprised of whites and African Americans and Asians and Hispanics, pulling together on the same team, I think is admirable,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell believes that the common people of Chicago from all neighborhoods could look to winning teams in professional sports as a sort of utopia in the sense that embody unity despite whatever racial differences exist in a locker room, “and I think that ordinary citizens should take to heart what can be accomplished if everybody works together for a common goal,” he emphasized.

wrigley sign

The 2005 Chicago White Sox, and the 2016 Chicago Cubs both exemplified this practice.


This past Sunday, I had the good fortune of exploring parts of Chicago, as well as going apple picking at County Orchard Line, in Hobart, Indiana. I took several photos throughout the course of the weekend with my DSL camera, and I put together a slideshow with a few of my favorites. Since the Chicago White Sox season just came to an end on Sunday, I figured I’d include some photos I snapped near their home field.

This past Sunday, I had the good fortune of exploring parts of Chicago, as well as going apple picking at County Orchard Line, in Hobart, Indiana. I took several photos throughout the course of the weekend with my DSL camera, and I put together a slideshow with a few of my favorites. Since the Chicago White Sox season just came to an end on Sunday, I figured I’d include some photos I snapped near their home field.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tiger Woods is back on top

Tiger Woods’ fall from the top since 2009 has been well documented, but on Sunday at the PGA Tour Championship, he won a tournament for the first time in more than five years. DePaul University’s David P. Stein examines how he accomplished this triumph.

This past Sunday at the PGA Tour championship, which was held at the East LAke Golf Club in Atlanta, Tiger Woods accomplished something that he hasn’t been able to in more than a half decade.

Tiger Woods smiling with the championship trophy at the PGA Tour Championship (This photo belongs to

As has been well-documented since an infamous night of domestic violence in November of 2008 at Woods’ estate in Windermere, Fla., the prolific golfer’s life and professional career have been mired in a rapidly progressing tailspin.

After it came to light that Tiger Woods had been unfaithful to then wife Elin Nordegren, and had in fact been sleeping with a plethora of different women during their marriage, Woods became the laughing stock of news and sports tabloids all over the world.

Courtesy of the New York Post

Not only did Tiger’s dirty laundry get aired publicly once Nordegren confronted Woods about his marital infidelities, which she learned about by navigating through messages on his phone, the once billionaire golfer was subsequently dropped by many major companies who were sponsoring him at the time including Gatorade and AT & T.

“I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children, I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness,” Woods wrote in an online statement back in December 2009.

In addition to a 100 million dollar divorce settlement agreement with ex wife Elin Nordegren, messy custody agreement negotiations, multiple visits to rehabilitation centers for pills and sex addiction, a DUI, and Tiger’s physical health, the polarizing sports figure’s play on the golf course has been just as tumultuous. And on the heals of a fourth back surgery to remedy recurring symptoms of nerve damages, Woods was arrested when police officers located him sleeping in his running car in Jupiter, Fla.

The below video was taken from the officer’s dash camera the night of the arrest, and shows Woods slurring his words due to an apparent reaction from prescribed medications that he was taking at the time.

“I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved,” Woods announced at the time in a public statement. “What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly,” he added.

The timing could not have been worse for Woods, who had not recorded a victory on tour since he won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Aug. 4 2013.

After pleading guilty to a reckless driving charge on Oct. 27 2017, Woods began a one year probationary program that required him to engage in community service and regular drug testing.

And with Tiger’s one year probationary sentence coming to an end soon, Woods celebrated his first tour championship win in more than five years this past Sunday in dramatic fashion.

Woods shot a one-over par 71 at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta to clinch victory for the 80th time on tour, which is the second most of all time.

If Woods can manage to keep moving forward in his life, perhaps there will be more championship trophies in the future that he can add to his illustrious collection. Although there were plenty of cheers for Tiger’s dominance in Georgia this weekend, there isn’t an individual out there who condones Woods’ marital infidelities of the past.

However, there is always the human element when it comes to sports. As humans, we are compelled by great stories.

Woods was down early on in the tournament this weekend and he came back to win it. He’s also been down in numerous other aspects of his life over the years, and just maybe, he’s in the process of authoring an even greater comeback story for the ages.

For now though, until his next tournament at least, Tiger Woods is back on top.

We’ve heard that California girls are undeniable, and the 2018 DePaul Blue Demons only validate this theory

Pop music icon Katy Perry may not be aware of this, but her 2010 hit single “California Gurls” is just as relevant to some people today, as it was eight years ago when the song was released. Of course, it all depends who you ask.

While it may not be played on the radio with as much regularity as it once was, the track might as well be the official fight song for the 2018 version of DePaul University’s varsity softball program.

Incredibly, of the 20 women who suited up for the Blue Demons this past season en route to the program’s second straight Big East conference title, eight are from the nation’s Golden State.


In fact, several of them grew up playing softball together in the same travel leagues, or in high school. And as infielder Erin Andris explains, this familiarity they have with each other from so many shared experiences playing together prior to their college careers is something that has added to the special bond that existed all season long inside the Blue Demons clubhouse.

“SoCal has a very tight knit softball community, so either you know other players your age through someone else, or you know them yourself because you played with them or against them. We’re just such a small group there that we all seem to know each other somehow some way,” said the Valencia, California native.

“It’s definitely cool because you’ll go somewhere like South Carolina, and you’ll see old teammates that you can catch up with and run into,” Andris added.

Pitcher and outfielder Megan Leyva also reaffirmed that there is a comfort level on the team which exists from knowing that so many of her DePaul teammates are similar stomping grounds.

“With our young [California] players, you can definitely see that they’ve come up and stepped up to the plate, and played like they’ve been with us forever and I think it’s great that we have such a great bond on the team that when we play together we really work together to get to our goal,” said the recipient of the 2018 BIG EAST tournament’s most outstanding player.

“I think it only made the team closer,” echoed Blue Demons head athletic trainer Ryan Grebner, who also attributes praise to the Illinois sector of DePaul’s softball roster for helping all the California recruits when getting settled during their transition to the Midwest university in Chicago.

“From the beginning I think the kids who are from around here all assisted each of them in making a comfortable transition to DePaul. Having teammates that can assist them in making that transition off the field only makes the product and trust on the field better in my opinion. And working with them was a great experience just like the rest of the team. Easy going and extremely kind individuals to be around and always wanting to do their best for the team in any situation.”

However, when you’ve traveled so far across the country to go to college and be a varsity softball player like so many Californian members of the Blue Demons have, naturally it becomes more challenging for family to attend as many games.

But Erin Adris’ mother, Katrina, that is a part of the deal when you have a daughter who plays softball at such a highly competitive level.

“If your daughter plays softball, or your kid plays travel sports, it’s just something that you get used to doing. You pretty much get used to traveling everywhere. Especially softball. They pretty much play all over the country,” said Mrs. Andris, who made the 2,000 plus mile commute to watch her daughter defeat the Creighton Blue Jays by a score of 6-2 in the BIG EAST championship game.

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Katrina Andris (left) with daughter Erin Andris (right) at the BIG EAST championship game during a prolonged rain delay

“I traveled here from California by myself. It’s important for me to try and make it here for big games and tournaments, and I always make sure I meet the team to watch their games whenever they play on the west coast,” added the sophomore’s mother.

This past season, the Blue Demons participated in the Rebel Classic tournament, which was held in Las Vegas Nevada. DePaul also competed in Fullerton, California’s Easton Invitational tournament, which allowed Andris and some of the other California parents to watch their daughters play.

DePaul Blue Demons huddle up prior to a game against Northwestern at Caciatorre Stadium on May 2.

Through the 2018 softball year, the Blue Demons roster collectively combined for 39 home runs and 211 runs batted in. Amazingly, DePaul’s eight California products produced 17 of those big flies, and 97 RBIs.

Maybe Katy Perry was right. There must be something in the water.