To help the San Francisco 49ers transition from NFC doormat (which they’ve been in recent years) to conference contender, the organization underwent a makeover before the 2006 season. Besides making personnel moves, the team established Thursday night bonding events throughout the summer.
For their first event, the team laced up bowling shoes and headed out to Moonlight Lanes in Santa Clara. Although their scores were less than good, the players had so much fun testing their skills against each other that a second event was scheduled for the following Thursday night. This time, the game was pool.
Tony Parrish, San Fran’s strong safety, who appreciated the events’ team-building effects, said this about his stick skills: “I don’t play billiards, but I’m a pure athlete. So when the challenge is out there, which it will be on Thursday, I’ll step up.”
Although most of the Niners struggled in the lanes and on the green felt, their efforts paid off when the season rolled around. In 2007, the 49ers won seven games—a big improvement over their miserable 4-12 record the year before.