Culture on Display: Gopher Football Players Send Individual ‘Thank You’ Letters to Outback Bowl

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Gopher Football’s culture was showing again this morning, when the Outback Bowl Twitter account snapped a picture of ‘Thank You’ letters that were written by each Gopher player, and then delivered to Outback Bowl headquarters (wherever that is). It’s a pretty cool gesture that isn’t new to PJ Fleck & Co. Thank You letters are something they write on the regular. It’s a quick and easy way to shower praise on anyone, if you think about it. Hand one card to that many rostered players, everyone writes for 2 minutes, and now you have up to 100 thank you letters to shower on one person or one group of people..

The team wrote them out around this time last year too, and sent them to Detroit’s Quick Lane Bowl, before they arrived to mop Ford Field with Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense. “Thank you’s” aren’t just written to thank bowl committees thought, in hopes of getting invited back the next time an opportunity arises. No, the Gopher Football program writes a lot of these letters. Team speakers, faculty, and staff have all been on the receiving end of these hand-penned notes of gratitude.

It sounds like anyone who takes the time to affect this team in a positive manner, could in-fact be a benefactor of these letters. It’s incredible. PJ Fleck is raising these young men into future full-grown men, who any mom/dad would be proud to call a son, wife happy to call a husband, and kids lucky to call a dad. That’s not sappy. That’s just real. The guys who write out thank you cards for nice people in their lives, are the same future husbands who happily gather their family for Christmas pictures (and even help address them to friends and family members afterward).

My wife would leave me for that….

Everytime you turn around and take a long look in on this program… you only get a better idea of the depth it brings to this community. This program rosters 100 kids every year and a lot of them will eventually graduate and settle down around here, to raise kids and families. Those local families and future children will be better because of PJ Fleck. Our community will be better. It’s not just the thank you letters. Serving and giving is part of their mantra. You don’t come to the University of Minnesota to play football right now, if you aren’t ready and willing to give back. It’s built into the culture.

A culture that continues to stand out, shining brightly over an NCAA swamp that is infested with collusion, greed, selfishness, and corruption; the Gophers look completely different. This is the place that parents will want to send their kids, knowing that Papa Fleck will take care of their mini-me’s and mold them into the adults any parent would want them to be… not just the next number on a football jersey.


Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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