Legendary Missouri men’s basketball coach Norm Stewart and his wife, Virginia, are doing perfectly fine, enjoying the turn from winter to spring as much as they can these days in Palm Springs, California.
This March, however, has been like none other they can remember.
The 85-year-old Hall of Famer and his spouse of more than 60 years have taken the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
"We're like everyone else that's in our age group," Norm said this week. "We're trying to do the best things we can possible and keep our risk low and keep everybody else’s risk as low as possible."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Norm and Virginia are correct to be taking an extreme level of caution. The severity of confirmed COVID-19 cases increases by age group, and California is among the states with the highest number of cases in the nation.
The Stewarts, currently situated in their cold-months home, aren’t used to sitting around, however.
"It's different from the standpoint that we're people that have been very active as far as travel and being involved with a lot of different programs and events, and of course, that has completely changed," Norm said.
Norm’s usual golf routine of driving the cart and playing the links has been disrupted as a typical activity.
"I'm not playing as much as I usually do in the past year," Norm said. "I'm playing very little."
The weather has been consistently clear this month in Palm Springs, approximately 100 miles east of Los Angeles.
The changes to the Stewarts’ routine have been gradual to a certain extent. The couple isn’t confined to their home, though limiting their outside access is currently in their best interest.
"We happen to be in a fortunate situation here," Norm said. "It's restricted from the standpoint that if you're active and used to going to events, those have been minimized. But on the other hand, the weather is very good and you still have the opportunity to enjoy that and try to exercise as much as possible."
By spending the last several winters in Palm Springs, the Stewarts have a consistent group of people to lean on during hard times.
Norm and Virginia have a person or two who helps with grocery shopping and they have a place nearby where they can order food, with one of them picking it up quickly by car.
The Stewarts usually return to Columbia for the summer and several times throughout the year, but any plans for travel have been halted for now.
"I’m hopeful that everybody can do this together and get through this without too much loss of health and all other things involved," Norm said.
Norm’s advice to anyone questioning the severity of COVID-19 is pretty simple. He’s not a doctor or scientist but is squarely in the age group where the most concern is focused in this pandemic.
"Well, you try to take directions," the 2007 College Basketball Hall of Fame inductee said. "First of all, just use good judgment. Keep your risk as low as possible. And I think everybody has to look at their own age group, because it is a little bit by age, but no one is exempt from having something like this.
"So you try to protect yourself and try to help protect other people."
Norm and Virginia have been through challenging times before, and when the coronavirus is contained at long last, their normal routine will return.
They plan to pick up right where they left off.