As I sit down to write this, we were supposed to be on a bus with 50 rowdy Nation citizens, making our way to Calgary to watch the final game of the NHL regular season. We were supposed to be closing out the year in style, partying with Internet friends, and prepping ourselves for a playoff run that was going to turn this city upside down. Instead, we’re all stuck in our houses with nothing to do but guess as to when or if things are going to get anywhere close to normal again, and that’s a bummer that I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around.

This morning, I made my way to the kitchen at my place to make coffee and it was then that I noticed today’s date circled on my calendar with a shitty little picture of a bus on it that I had drawn a couple of months ago. I stared at the sketch for a minute and felt all kinds of disappointment washing over me as I realized the memories that were robbed from us, knowing full well how spectacular today would have been had the world not gone to shit. In my mind, I could hear the ‘Let’s-Go Oil-ers’ chants that always break out and see the strangers meeting for the first time on the bus after years spent arguing in the comments section. Those ‘ah-ha’ meetings and moments happen on every trip we do and it’s amazing to witness every single time — I never get tired of it.

We’re so lucky to be able to do events like bus trips or brunch parties as a meaning of interacting with all you that having those items wiped from the schedule has been hard. Setting aside the fact that we aren’t able to watch sports for a minute, losing the chance to get together as a group creates a sense of sadness and loss that’s nearly impossible to describe. For me, it’s tough to think about the time we’re missing out on and the shenanigans that only we as Nation citizens could have come up with. One of my favourite parts about working here is undoubtedly the events we get to throw and the memories we make because you folks are so incredible. To me, time spent with each other is what we’re really missing out on the most here and today, I found myself almost grieving about the fact that we have to stay apart.

For a lot of people that don’t understand what goes on around here, organizing bus trips to Calgary just to watch hockey may seem silly in the grand scheme of things, but they provide us with so much joy that they’ve become a staple in what we do. One of the first things that happens when the schedule comes out is figuring out when we’ll be able to pack a bus and hit the road. Not only do we get the chance to watch hockey behind enemy lines which is always fun in itself, but, more importantly, we also get the opportunity to meet and interact with the folks that actually make this business work. The community surrounding this website is made up of so many unbelievable people from all different walks of life and locations, and being able to spend a little bit of time with a few of you makes the hard work worth the effort every single time. I’ve met so many incredible people, formed friendships, and made memories because of all of you that being robbed of those moments is a really tough pill to swallow. Yeah, losing hockey is hard but that pales in comparison to losing the time we’d have spent together.

I mean, just look at our playoff car flag that’s featured in the image above that we just got our shipment of. Because of your requests and feedback, we ordered thousands of these babies in anticipation for the run that was supposed to happen in the coming weeks. As we’ve come to expect, you folks came up with the idea — another fastball down Broadway — and we wanted to run with it. We imagined what it would look like to have citizens from all over the country sporting flags on their cars in support of our boys, and now they’re laying lifeless in boxes at Nation HQ. We had plans of handing a bunch of these out to folks on the bus as another thank you for joining us, and now we don’t have that chance. At least, not any time soon.

Even though the shutdown of sport and life in general was the right call to make to try and get a handle on COVID-19, and there’s no doubt in my mind that staying home is the smartest thing any of us can do right now, that doesn’t make the loss of events like today’s bus trip any easier to take. And while I know that we’ll eventually be able to organize more trips like the one that was supposed to happen today, I still can’t help but feel sad about losing the chance to get together in the here and now. I hope everyone reading this knows how grateful we are for all of you, and that we’re already dreaming of the days we’ll be able to get together again.

Mission 2020 may have been postponed but our journey together is far from over. Until then, stay safe, everybody.