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So come the seasons

Alex Kilpatrick | Tuesday, October 11, 2011

For all the warm weather enthusiasts out there, of which I’m sure there are plenty, these past few days of sun and high temperatures have been a blessing. Having returned not too long ago from a semester abroad in Australia, I admit I had gotten used to warm temperatures and even taken sunny weather for granted a time or two. But over the past month or so, as South Bend weather settled into a brisk chill, I began to bitterly accept the inevitable — that fall and winter are on its way, and at some point in the near future, I will most likely have to endure temperatures in the negative.

No doubt, South Bend weather can have its upsides. When the temperatures drop down to freezing in mid to late November, the student population awaits one of their most beloved traditions, the first snowball fight of the year. In line with Notre Dame students’ usual competitive nature, this event is taken seriously. Teams are formed. Sides are taken. One of my favorite Notre Dame memories harkens back to my freshman year during the 2008 North Quad/South Quad snowball fight. Noticing the light snow flurries falling outside our windows, my friends and I pulled on our snow boots, scarves, gloves, hats and coats and hiked outside through the freshly fallen snow, leaving footprints in our wake.

It was like Disneyland for freshman students who had never seen snow before and even for me, who had grown up in North Carolina and only seen half an inch of snow every few years. Who knows who threw the first snowball, but before we knew it, a small intimate snowball fight among friends grew into a full-fledged snowball battle with masses of students joining in the fun. We played in the snow like candy-crazed kids until our hands and feet went numb, and afterward escaped the cold back in our dorm rooms with hot chocolate, our boots, coats and scarves strewn about the hallway. That same weekend during the final home football game against Syracuse, students recklessly threw snow right and left, leading Notre Dame to enforce a strict “no snowball fights in the stands” policy.

Other Notre Dame winter traditions include stealing food trays from the dining halls and using them as toboggans. And a brave, if senseless, few venture out to the lake when it’s frozen and test the ice by walking across it. Notre Dame students definitely know how to make the most out of the cold weather.

I certainly prefer the warmth to South Bend’s usual bitter cold. By February each year, the snow’s appeal has usually worn off and it merely becomes an unwanted obstacle on the way to class. Nonetheless, cold weather is a large part of the Notre Dame school year and it does have its upsides from time to time. Six months out of the year, it gives students an excuse to stay inside and be the diligent hard-working students that we are. So I will enjoy the sunny weather while it’s still here and embrace the snow when it’s time to fall and simply take the seasons as they come.


Contact Alex Kilpatrick at ackilpatr@nd.edu

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.