March 11, 2020 will always be a day I remember.
I knew from the second the NBA announced it had suspended operations due to COVID-19 that things were about to change. But the coronavirus was still so new and we didn't know much about it, so I was naive enough to think that things would be back to normal by the weekend, a week at the latest.
Besides, nothing shuts sports down, right?
I was very wrong and before we knew it, the NHL had paused its season, the NWHL canceled the Isobel Cup and things began to unravel.
The world stopped and it just didn't make sense to me. I had just been out with my friends over the weekend -- drinking, playing arcade games, playing cornhole and just....living.
I left the NESN office after a brief meeting with our department. We were told our health and safety came first and that we'd be working from home for the next few days. The "next few days," though, soon became indefinitely.
Listen, working from home, covering games from my couch in sweatpants and no make-up was great. But, if I'm being honest, I soon began to miss all those reasons to dress up and put on my make-up every now and then.
And then my day-to-day life began to get bleak and redundant.
I was living in a 300-square-foot apartment at the time with my now-fiance, and it was getting smaller and smaller by the day. He, too, began to work from home and it was becoming increasingly stressful to try to find a quiet place to work. It wasn't like I could just walk up to the local coffee shop, take a seat and work for a few hours.
I was wishing five days away for 48 hours of no work. It's not like I had anywhere to go.
By June, I was completely burnt out. We were house hunting, my mom was dealing with a health scare and we were constantly getting out-bid during said house hunt.
My weekly dinner dates with my mom became daily FaceTime chats. I couldn't hug my mom or my grandma. I left my apartment to go for walks and that's about it. I was living that scene from SpongeBob when Squidward moves to a fancy new neighborhood and just does the same things day in and day out.
Fast forward a bit: after several "no's" and failed home inspections, we closed on a house closer to our hometowns. I began packing up our little apartment while still working. My gym had reopened, so I began working there again.
It was chaos, I was always on the go. But somewhere amidst that chaos, I was asked to jump on a podcast. And before we knew it, I was part of the FTF family. That turned into co-hosting the 'Stealing Second' podcast with Yolo and Anna and making appearances on the 'Snipe ‘N Celly' podcast with Mark, Haley and Jake.
Now, I co-host Snipe, we've began a new season of Stealing Second and the members of FTF Media have become lifelong friends and people I trust with my life.
I certainly didn't think that I'd still be working from home a year later. But there's finally a light at the end of the tunnel.
Fans are getting back into the stands, vaccines are rolling out and sports are in full swing.
This past year was trying and it stretched me as thin as I could go, but at the end of the day, more good things happened in the last 365 days than bad: We bought a house, rescued a pup, got engaged, set our wedding date and I was able to work the entire time without interruption to my job.
FTF came into my life at probably the darkest part of the pandemic for me. And I'm blessed to add them to my list of "good things to happen in the last year."
I'm looking forward to what the next year brings (selfishly hoping for a Bruins Stanley Cup win). But it's already looking pretty good.
Here's to more years with this wild bunch, wine pods and group chat laughs.
- Lauren (@lalalalaurrrren)