March comes in like a lion, and it leaves like a lamb.
Usually reserved for meteorological purposes, this term could easily apply to the month experienced by Ben Fisk: from joining Atlético Ottawa, going to Madrid for pre-season training camp, and getting caught up in a global pandemic.
“It was a hard place to be,” Fisk told CanPL.ca of the team’s time in Madrid. “But credit to the club. They kept us isolated and got us home as soon as possible.”
The former Pacific FC winger was unveiled as Ottawa’s inaugural signing in early March. Like the rest of Ottawa teammates, he travelled to Spain’s capital to kick-off pre-season and get a first-hand look at the operation at Atlético de Madrid, the CPL side’s owners.
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However, the spread of COVID-19, which forced the CPL to delay the start of the 2020 season, saw their camp – and almost all football across the world – come to a screeching halt after a week. The Canadian Premier League banned training and, with the virus continuing to spread in Spain, Fisk and the rest of Atlético Ottawa’s squad returned from Spain last week.
They are currently engaged in a mandated two-week isolation period for international travellers. Straight into their Ottawa-area apartments, groceries included, for 14 days.
“It’s making the best of an ugly situation and it was nice to get all that time together as a group and go through it together,” Fisk said.
“Now we just have to do our part as members of society to get this past us.”
Work hasn’t halted for Fisk and the other self-isolating Ottawa players, though. There’s training on WhatsApp every morning, for example.
“Our strength and conditioning coach will send the video of him doing the exercises, and you have at it,” Fisk said of his living room workout routine.
Fisk still sees the positives in the side’s nervy, continent-spanning travel itinerary: “Ironically, isolation time has brought us together as a group. Our group chat has been a good time. Not the ideal circumstances but we’re all getting along well. Our few days in Madrid were not wasted, either.”
A week into his self-isolation, Fisk is trying to stay busy with online business courses and making personal calls to Atlético Ottawa fans who have put down deposits for season tickets.
“We don’t wanna spend too much time doing football homework,” Fisk said of any early assignments from coach Mista. “Football is secondary on everyone’s mind right now. Football can wait.”
Things are decidedly calmer, and at least more predictable for Fisk as he bides his time.
In like a lion, out like a lamb.