Tuesday, August 11, 2009

#43: Complaining about the weather

When prospective students apply to the University of Notre Dame they probably don’t know about most of the things on this list. They probably don’t know about the definition of hooking up (see #21) or where they will be getting pizza after a night of debauchery (see #14). They might know about Lou Holtz (see #23) and Saint Mary’s (see #38), while they have almost certainly never been to Finnegan’s or The Backer (see #20 and #26 respectively). However, if there is one thing that prospective students know when they apply to the school, it is that the weather in South Bend is absolutely awful.

South Bend has weather patterns that are somewhat similar to Siberian tundra or the real world in The Matrix. The sun refuses to shine on Notre Dame between October 1st and May 1st and there are only a handful of days each year that can be described using the word nice.* During the darkest months of the winter, snow falls at dramatic levels across the region and temperatures reach lows that are unheard of in most of the lower 48.

Despite the fact that all students know the problems with South Bend weather long before they attend the university, the students continuously complain about how bad the weather is and how they wish they lived in a more enjoyable climate. These complaints happen before class starts while they are taking off layers of coats, gloves, scarves, and hats. They happen at November tailgates where the beers aren’t put on ice to get cold, but they are laid out in the sun in order to get warm enough to drink. They happen when it snows at the spring game, and when it rains on the few warm days of the fall.

Not only will Notre Dame Students relentlessly complain about the weather they knew they would encounter in South Bend, but they will use the poor weather as an excuse. Some students will use the weather as an excuse to drink more (as there is nothing better to do in the cold winter months). Other students will use the weather as an excuse not to drink (because it is too cold to go out to parties, or to even get alcohol from the store). Students will use the weather as an excuse to skip classes and they will use the weather as an excuse to wear sweatpants (see #49).

However, the never-ending stream of poor weather in South Bend causes students to be even more excited for the beginning of spring (or as Bill Simmons calls it, Halter Top Day). On this day, which comes unexpectedly and at a different date every year, students rejoice. Shorts and skirts are worn and South Quad is covered with people playing games, tanning themselves, reading books, doing work, and just generally relaxing. For one day each spring Notre Dame Students do not complain about the weather because they know they need to embrace it while it lasts because the next day it will probably snow.

*Luckily in the spring of 2009 these three days fell on St. Patrick’s Day, Pigtostal, and the 22nd birthday of one Bob Kessler


  1. Of course on this first warm day of the year when Notre Dame Students bring out the shorts and skirts and start playing on the quad it's usually around 50 degrees.

  2. bill simmons is awesome