A-Typical Road Trip
August 2 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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Preparing for a road trip to a different country, where English is barely spoken, and where the culture differs from North Americaís about as much as land from sea, was no easy task. The 49ers had to take many steps to insure that the trip would run smoothly - but at the same time did not want to prevent its players from enjoying what could be a once in a life time experience.
To insure that the team was prepared for the trip, they scouted the situation before hand, working alongside of the Japanese business men in charge of brining the NFL to Japan. That alone was a tremendous task. 49ers executives had to negotiate what players would wear, eat, and how they would great the media, fans along with much more. Of course the team made several requests - one in particular was to have extra showers added to the locker rooms.
While most of the teamís requests were eventually granted, including the one for extra showers, the 49ers will start showering at half time. Players, mainly starters not expected to return to the game will start the showering process to insure that the team does not miss its flight back to America.
Along with planning a high carbohydrate, high protein diet for the players, the team also had to help orientate the team to the culture of Japan. Among the lessons taught, was the difference in formality between Japan and America. In Japan, for example, different language is used when speaking to elder, women and children. Another interesting note, is that in Japanese Baseball leagues, teams actually play for a tie, so neither team will lose face from the battle; in other words, donít expect either team to rack up an extra 40 points in this game if they want to retain any Japanese viewer ship. The differences in culture are vast between Japan and America, and the players will do their best not to step on any toes in the short time of their visit.
In preparing for the trip, the 49ers took along 11 045 pounds of equipment and baggage that had a total value of $642 669 US funds. Obviously the equipment managers have been very busy, and will continue to be very busy over the next week.
The 49ers Goldrush Cheerleading squad did travel with the team. They will help promote the team, and sell merchandise. They also brought along photos to autograph for the fans.
The 49ers allocated, Japanese player, Masafumi Kawaguchi has left a good enough impression on coach Mariucci for the 49ers to request permission from the NFL to keep Kawaguchi in camp as a player that wonít count against their roster cap.