MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Like most people around the United States and the world, the coronavirus pandemic has flipped Gophers coach P.J. Fleck's routine upside down.
Around this time of the year, Fleck is getting ready to coach a new squad and play in the spring game. But that game won't happen and Fleck is instead stuck inside his house as he joins the millions staying home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
And the change doesn't come without frustrations.
"Put it this way, I went to the grocery store yesterday," said Fleck. "Maybe the first time in like seven years looking for toilet paper like everyone else. But, it's very different. I'm not used to staying in the house. It's given us the time, the other night, to be together, especially with family... But also, I'm just kind of cooped up and I don't know what to do with the energy."
All face-to-face contact with his players has been halted. But that doesn't mean Fleck is not in contact with his team and football is still very much in the forefront.
"They're doing everything everyone else is doing," Fleck explained. "They're following the instruction of local government; they're practicing social distancing. They're are taking classes virtually. We have somethings we are doing with them virtually. You know, we're sending them programs."
Coach Fleck is known as a great motivator and one that has helped other overcome adversity. Now, he believes, more than ever, this is a time for everyone to come together and "row the boat."
"These times will pass," says Fleck. "Somehow, someway, it will pass. We will get through this. But we can't get through this unless we're together. And I think that's the biggest thing people have to understand. That's what 'Row the Boat' is all about. Everybody's got to be able to grab an oar, everybody's got to row, and everybody's got to be able to row in the same direction. Not opposite directins."
"'I want to go this way, I want to go that way,'" Fleck mimed. "Look, we all got to to sacrifice parts of our lives and row in the same direction."
But, Fleck goes on to say we will come out of this and we will be stronger and better because of it.