Lazy Boy On Campus: The end of an era

"Lazy Boy On Campus" is a weekly column on how to embrace laziness while maintaining a jam packed schedule. Easy, right?

(Illustration/Alicia Fitzmaurice)

People always say that it is easy to make friends in college. After all, you’re one person in a sea of 33,000 students, it should be easy to find someone to get along with. Except most of the time it’s not, especially on a campus as large in area as ours is. For me, however, there was one real savior: Storrs Center. More specifically, in Storrs Center there was Friendly Fire Game Center.

Like I’ve mentioned before, I’m super lazy. I was unwilling 90 percent of the time to actually leave my backyard to get anything done. Luckily, Friendly Fire was in that backyard.

So what is a “Friendly Fire?” Friendly Fire was the game store located in Storrs Center and as the “was” clearly indicates, the store is no more. The store announced their decision to close in a letter on their Facebook page. This past weekend was the last time the door would be open. 

When I first stumbled upon Friendly Fire, I was a doe-eyed freshman, barely three days into my freshman year. I was a huge nerd in high school. After school, I would play board games like “Settlers of Catan” and “Munchkin” with friends. I’ve been playing “Magic, the Gathering” since eighth grade, and even brought a deck or two up with me to school. I’ve learned over the years that these facts are not the things you lead with when you are trying to make friends.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered this store. It was a place that I could let my inner-nerd run rampant. I was introduced to so many different things: “Magic” pre-releases, board game nights, over-night themed lock-ins and “League of Legends” tournaments, to name a few.

But it wasn’t just games that I discovered, it was new friends. It was the kid who sat ahead of me in orchestra, it was the kid who I met in a discussion section…hell, it was my roommate freshman year. Having a store like Friendly Fire helped me gain a large group of friends my freshman year.

Over the next three years I would go to the store at least once a week. Not always to buy something, sometimes to just talk with the regulars in the store or to talk to the owners. At one point during 2015 I went to Friendly Fire every Wednesday and Friday for free board game night and Friday Night Magic (FNM) respectively. Starting my sophomore year, I would go in on Sundays once every few weeks to learn how to play League of Legends from Dan Keener, one of the store owners.

The store also helped me grow my photography business. They were one of my first clients and allowed me to cover events for the store as well as take general product and business photos. It was the first time that someone was really confident enough in my ability to allow me show off my photography.

And now, after three years, it’s all coming to close. It’s the end of midnight “Magic” games and the friendships “destroyed” during a game of “Settlers of Catan.” And yet, even as this chapter closes, it’s not really the end. I’ll still have the memories from that place and all of the friends.

So what does this mean for you, the lazy person sitting around campus avoiding class? You can be lazy and still make friends. You don’t have to go far outside your backyard, but you do have to be willing to look. That way maybe you can find your own Friendly Fire.

Amar Batra is a senior staff photographer and opinion’s staff columnist for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email