As if a hurricane was barring down on the quiet quad and the empty sidewalks, a raging torrent of wind blows through the empty campus. This week, we have finally experienced the beginnings of winter. While it has yet to snow here at Saint Xavier, the signs are obvious. People bundled up from head to toe wobble to class. Leaves are nearing the end of their time as they shrivel and fall. The once lush green grass has now begun to turn hay color, and the trees loom overhead as spooky skeletons of wood.
With temperatures in the 20s and 30s, there’s not much in the way of outdoorsy fun for your average college student. Ask around, and they’ll more often than not remark something along the lines of, “Go outside? You’re crazy?” Around this time of year, the school is a far cry from its usual bustling self. Picnics and leisurely walks along the picturesque campus are replaced with a quiet serenity with the howl of the wind. The shortening of the day has reduced. Gathering a large crowd for an outing can be a chore in itself, let alone in the height of a freezing November. And it is even harder when it involves freezing college students. If you’re planning an event at night, forget about it. A good o’ scoff will be the best you’d get if your event was unfortunately scheduled during a cold, windy late fall night. Nevertheless, the murmured shouting and cheering of a building in excitable energy staved off the cold night when Saint Xavier’s F.I.E.R.C.E. Anime Club was able to pull it with its semi-annual gaming tournament Friday night.
Each semester, the club, collaborating with the gaming clubs of Saint Xavier, hosts a night of nothing but video games. Games, like Mario Cart, Nintendo Smash, Mortal Kombat, and others, take center stage as dozens of people, students, from Saint Xavier and from other schools as well as non-students come for a common interest. In the Andrew Conference Center, dozens of people from as far as DePaul and UIC came to join their friends and fellow gamers for a night away from the stresses of schoolwork and enjoy a little peace in the cold night. There is an almost strange peace during the tournament.
In a few weeks, finals will take place and many of us students will no longer be playing video games but scrambling to finish any remaining projects and study for our finals tests. So for us, to take some time to just chill and play with our friends without a care in the world is priceless.
Community is a very important part of life here at Saint Xavier, especially for the cliques that are not traditionally considered “cool.” Call us what you will — nerds, geeks, losers – we live as we want, loving our hobbies and interests without a care of what others may say. And it is this mentality of self-worth and acceptance that allows for such gatherings to succeed. There is a form of comradery among us gamers to be able to come together and make jokes and references to things that only we know while the “normies” gawk in confusion. And while the rest of the residents are huddled in their dorms away from the cold, we were having a blast competing with each other in friendly and sometimes heated rivals but always in good fun. And when the event was over, fun was had, friendships were formed, and a rejuvenation left in its wake. Only now an anticipation of next semester’s game tournament lies in my heart. For when it’s cold out, there’s always a place to stay warm. But it’s always better with company.