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Campus gangs up on Zahm in snow fight

Jay Fitzpatrick | Wednesday, December 5, 2007

There on the frozen tundra of North Quad, Zahm stood against the world.

The combined forces of North and South Quads – traditional enemies in the annual snowball fight that accompanies the winter season’s first accumulation of snow – numbered an estimated 500 hurlers early Wednesday morning and backed the “Zahmbies” into the corner that separates their dorm from neighboring Cavanaugh Hall.

But the Zahm residents would not fold.

Zahm freshman Scott Wilkinsen was confident in his dorm’s performance in the early goings of the fight.

“We’re taking it. It’s not terrible,” he said. “It’s fine if they want to come and get us – we’ll take them anywhere, anyplace. We went over there and started stuff, and they came back here. It’s kind of dissipating. We’re taking it to them I think.”

By 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, between 200 and 300 students remained in the fight. Participants said the total numbers had been almost double that in the preceding hour, though the mounting casualties did not seem to affect the snow fighters’ mentality.

Wilkinsen quipped that Zahm’s offseason conditioning program helped its residents prepare for Tuesday’s showdown against its numerous adversaries.

“We actually worked out in Florida over the summer working with sand castles, working with compacting sand and it worked well. I think it paid off today,” he said.

After several minutes of waiting for the right time for an offensive charge – after a reload of fresh supplies of hot cocoa – the Rabid Bats launched their attack. As the South Quad denizens sat back complacently, Zahm ran forward, snowballs at the ready, flinging them with wild abandon at the other lines.

“We felt that we had the numbers. Just some tactics we’ve been working out,” Wilkinsen said. “… You can’t sit back. Just like you’ve got to take it to the terrorists, you’ve got to take it to the South Quad people.”

But it wasn’t only South Quad people. On the other side of the conflict, Dillon freshman Adam Carlson said the main difference between this year’s matchup and last year’s was the nature of the combatants.

“This one is pretty much everyone against Zahm,” he said. “Last year was a lot more like North Quad versus South Quad. Pretty much everybody hates Zahm, I guess.”

In the fight, Carlson said, he “hit some bros in the face.”

“It’s pretty much the best feeling you can have in the winter,” he said.

But Notre Dame’s first snowfall stretched far beyond the battle waging up north. Many students ventured into the snow on South Quad to play full-contact football without pads – not quite a Notre Dame tradition during the first snowfall.

A matchup between an option-style attack led by Dillon freshman Ryan Patton and a high-flying spread lead by Dillon freshman Matt Scioscia took place on South Quad early Wednesday morning.

Scioscia, who played defensive end for three years in high school in California, never played in the conditions he faced in Wednesday’s game. In fact, Scioscia had never even seen snow before Tuesday – except for on television.

“I did not think it would be this cold,” Scioscia said. “It’s actually pretty fun, but it’s freezing.”

Scioscia said he and his dormmates decided in the spur of a moment to venture outside and start a game of snow football, although he is excited for the prospects of a snowy winter.

“If it keeps snowing like this I think we’ll be able to have a lot of fun and a lot of snowfights,” he said.

But not everyone outside early Wednesday morning was there for the thrill of battle and competition. Some just like the snow.

Walsh freshman Julie Zorb and her friends – some of whom also had never seen snow before – left the cozy confines of their dorm for the simple reason of being outside.

“We wanted something to do,” Zorb said. “The snow is exciting.”