There are two ways to look at how working from home connects us.
First, misery loves company, which applies to those who find kinship in the discovery that noisy kids and productivity do not mix.
Second, we are all in this social-distancing soup together. There is comfort and a sense of camaraderie in knowing the person down the street is experiencing the same cabin fever challenges but also moments of #WFH delight.
Even when that person is Ohio State coach Ryan Day.
Day is working from his home in Delaware. Offices at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center are closed until further notice, which means he is dealing with the same issues as many of us held hostage by his tablet and, except for video conferencing, working where only his family can see what he is wearing.
It is hard to picture Day firing up his laptop while wearing pajamas and looking like whodunit-and-ran. No way the grand poobah of Buckeye Nation heads to breakfast sporting bedhead although given the speed at which Days grows facial hair, bedbeard is a definite possibility yet otherwise he is as human as your neighbor.
The pedestal that people place Day upon, which makes not only his job but his life appear more important than theirs, has been plowed under for the moment. Indeed, the governor’s stay-at-home order dynamites the wall between Ohio State fan and coach. Is that a good thing? Fans don’t necessarily want their giants shrunk to 6 feet 1, but in this case, with the world in chaos, sizing up a coach as not all that unlike you can be a soothing positive.
So what does a day in the life of Day look like? He laid it out during a teleconference with reporters on Wednesday.
"For the most part it’s waking up and watching film," he began. (I would prefer he read The Dispatch first, but whatever.) "Whether it’s our spring cut-ups, study an NFL team, watch an upcoming opponent. That’s the morning, then quickly get into recruiting."
Day tries to give his cellphone a rest, but he spends much of the late morning texting high school players.
"But you’re always on call, with the phone calls and everything else," he said. "I can’t tell you how many times we’ve sat down as a family to do something and the phone rings and I’m off and running."
"Around lunchtime, we all try to work out," Day said, explaining how he, his wife, Nina, son and two daughters might go on a run. "Then we get back in the afternoon and they work on their (school) projects and I get back to work."
The challenge is finding a routine that works for everyone, but Day’s experience organizing meetings and workouts makes him a pro at scheduling on the fly.
Then there is the issue of where to work. Basement? Kitchen table?
"I do have a little bit of an office that up until this point I’ve never used," he said, chuckling.
Day checks in with Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith regularly and talks to strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti two or three times a day.
"A lot of FaceTiming," he said.
Which means seeing up a lot of noses and plenty of ceilings.
But it’s not all work and no play. Day and Nina binge-watched "Tiger King" on Netflix last week, and while he has yet to find his go-to snack to bridge the lunch-dinner gap, the man has discovered the crockpot.
"It’s pretty easy throw stuff in there in the morning, put on low heat and cook all day, and it’s ready for dinner," he said.
Chili is the cuisine du jour.
"I’m trying to work out the ingredients to get the best chili I can possibly get," he said. "One was a good one. The other was a complete failure."
What’s not a failure is family time. Ironic that COVID-19 has created deeper connections through separation.
"We’re trying to look at it as how many times as a football coach are you able to spend an extended period of time with your family?" Day said. "We’re trying to make a positive out of a negative in terms of reconnecting with the family."
Moods depend on the moment.
"It helps when the sun is out, when you can walk outside the house and walk around the yard and the neighborhood a little bit," he said. "When it’s raining and cold and you’re cooped up in the house, not as much fun."
Some days are better than others. For Day. For us. For all.