Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde (34) scores past the outstretched hand of Northwestern linebacker Collin Ellis (45) in Evanston on Saturday. And Mayor Rahm was here too!
  • AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
  • Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde (34) scores past the outstretched hand of Northwestern linebacker Collin Ellis (45) in Evanston on Saturday. And Mayor Rahm was here too!

To get away from Chicago politics, I headed over to Ryan Field for Saturday’s big game: Northwestern versus Ohio State.

I figured I need the break. The cuts and closings were getting me down. I was almost as sick and tired of Mayor Emanuel as he must be of me.

So, what the heck—it’s off to Evanston I go. And what a great day it was—thunderstorms and all!

I had the time of my life—eating hot dogs, drinking beers, talking trash to Buckeye fans, and singing along with the NU band.

C’mon, everybody.

“Hey, baby—I wanna know, oh, oh—if you’ll be my girl . . . “

At the end of the third quarter, I turned my attention to the Jumbotron in the northeast corner of the stadium, where they were getting ready to broadcast a tape of some celebrity calling on everyone to stand and cheer for the Wildcats.

They do this at the start of every fourth quarter. And I was so excited as I wondered: Who has NU had chosen to lead the cheers for the biggest game of the year? Derrick Rose? Jay Cutler? Joakim Noah? Pat Kane? Bobby Hull? You know, some celebrity that everyone loves and adores.

And then on the big screen flashes . . .

Rahm Emanuel?


I mean, WTF! His mug had to be 50 feet tall, it filled the freakin’ screen! Are you kidding me? Even when I try to get away, I can’t get away.

It would have ruined my day, except for what happened next.

The crowd booed. And by that I don’t mean scattered boos here and there. I’m talking full-throttle jeers—like the crowd at the old Chicago Stadium used to give it to Bill Laimbeer and the dreaded Detroit Pistons.

Around me, the boos were so loud I couldn’t hear what the mayor was saying. For all I know, he was explaining why he has enough money to build a DePaul basketball arena and a Marriott hotel but not enough money to hire librarians at Walter Payton and other public schools.

I must admit the booing caught me by surprise. I can understand why people at Father Pfleger’s south-side church would boo the mayor—as they recently did. The mayor’s cuts have hit hardest at their communities.

But this was at Northwestern, just a stone’s toss from the mayor’s hometown of Wilmette. You’d think they’d love him up here—especially after he gave Northwestern the green light to demolish Prentice Women’s Hospital.

Is it just that sports fans will boo any politician? Or are the mayor’s school cuts and closings so outrageous that even the North Shore crowd’s offended?

Speaking of schools . . .

I happened to be sitting near a CPS kindergarten teacher. After the game, she told me a tale that sort of sums up life on the CPS front lines in the age of Rahm.

Thanks to the mayor’s budget cuts, her school has very little money for basic supplies. So the principal has added toilet paper to the list of things parents have to buy. You know, pencils, paper, rulers—toilet paper.

Here’s the thing. The parents, bless their hearts, have been buying the thicker, softer-on-the-tush, three-ply toilet paper.

But the old pipes in the school’s ancient plumbing system can’t handle more than one-ply TP. The three-ply stuff has the toilets overflowing all day long!

“It’s driving the poor janitor crazy,” she said.

That’s our mayor—always devising new and innovative ways to torment the staff.

For all I know, the janitor was sitting somewhere near the 20 yard line, booing his ass off.