In a season marked by turbulent results, Nov. 19 marked a special day in the Notre Dame 2022 football season. Fans packed into the stadium bundled in thick socks, hefty gloves, snug hats and enough layers of shirts to numb themselves to the cold. But there was no escaping the unprecedented conditions that the crowd at the Notre Dame and Boston College game endured. The following is my account as one of the many students who braved the weather conditions from the initial fight song to the concluding rendition of the alma mater:
I rose sluggishly to the reverberation of the first alarm set on my phone that morning. The time was 10 o’clock. The temperature sat around 20 degrees, so I wrapped myself snuggly between my sheets to shield myself from the cold air seeping into the room. Reluctant to get out of bed on this frigid morning, I continued to scroll through my phone until the compact device vibrated within my grip. A message directed to the primary group chat appeared at the top of my screen: “Lunch?”
We convened in the lobby of South Dining Hall for the purposes of both nourishment and establishing the day’s game plan. Over warm waffles and fresh fruit, it was decided that as much time as possible would be spent avoiding the elements. We would forgo the scramble to tailgates. Today was strictly about survival. Returning to my room, I assembled an outfit perfectly crafted to brave the weather.
As I stepped out of my room and into the stairwell, I could feel the heat radiating from my body. Swaddled in wool socks, thermal underwear, thick pants, a sweatshirt, a hoodie, a coat, a snood, gloves and a beanie, I questioned whether or not my ensemble was over the top. But after stepping outside, the slicing winds reminded me why I had piled layer upon layer of clothes onto my frame.
My friends and I regrouped outside the sophomore gate, where we huddled together with the horde of other students making their way into the stadium. While we were relieved to be shielded from the winter winds inside the stadium, this comfort was short lived. Upon entering the stands, we were once again met by the fierce gusts that assaulted us from the muted gray sky. Nevertheless, we forged forward to an open section of bleachers and filed in, oblivious to what lay ahead.
The first half was challenging but manageable. With hands shoved deep in my pockets and a hood covering the brims of my eyes, I braved the conditions. However, the same could not be said for my comrades. We lost two after the first quarter. Broken by the cold, they retreated to their dorm to watch the game on a screen under a cozy blanket. But the rest of us remained resilient. Having taken a strategic hot chocolate break towards the end of the first quarter, I was feeling confident in my chances of survival. However, as the band concluded its halftime performance and the second half kicked off, I began to feel the effects of the cold. The plummeting temperatures breached my layers of clothing, leaving my extremities aching. Darn, I knew it had been a bad idea to omit the hand and toe warmers. A few minutes into the third quarter, two of us felt that we needed a respite. We trudged to the bathroom in order to warm up and rally for the remainder of the game.
Scarcely warmer, we reluctantly made our way back to the stands. But this time, we were not only greeted by roaring winds. As we made our way out, the bright green turf became speckled with white, as pellets of snow flashed across the stadium. For a brief moment, the sight was a wonder to behold, until we realized the impairment it caused to our vision. Nevertheless, we made our way down the steps and towards our seats, energized by the newfound excitement our surroundings created.
As the game came to an end, a cheer for the Irish win reverberated through the crowd. The entire field was now covered in a pillowy white blanket dotted with footprints that appeared to be chasing after one another. At this point, all my extremities felt completely numb, and I could feel my nose running uncontrollably. But as we proudly locked shivering arms in the singing of the alma mater, we couldn’t help but revel in our resilience against these unexpected elements. We celebrated our great triumph, before quickly rushing back to the warmth of our dorms.