I tip my fedora to Kevin Demoff, Jeff Fisher, Bruce Warwick and the entire organization for what has been a flawless trip across the pond to the UK (United Kingdom). I know a lot of you are asking, what’s the big deal? Several NFL franchises pack up and move every year to a training camp location within the states. This is a much greater challenge.
One of the challenges is the procurement of an aircraft which starts with a very lengthy bidding process which determines who actually wins the opportunity to work with the traveling team. It may come down to overall cost of the trip, jet fuel cost, size, TV’s on board, Wi-Fi, food service and much more.
Once overseas, finding a location that can house a complete franchise from top to bottom is not easy. Keep in mind all the things an organization need; from rooming accommodations, meeting rooms, on-site practice locations or nearby facilities, dining hall and food accommodations, laundry service.
The Rams are staying at the Grove, a London Country Estate located in north London. This beautiful countryside resort has an 18 hole Championship Golf Course, putting greens, driving range that sits in a very lush setting in a picturesque rolling green hills. There are multiple restaurants and the estate also includes a spa and complete fitness center and 3.7 miles of walking, running or cycling trails that encompass the Grand Union Canal, Cassiobury Park and Whippendell Woods, 5 miles throughout the Grove Wetlands (Grove Beehives). The Grove’s landscape design is impeccable from the grass to the pruned shrubs and trees throughout the property with formal gardens around every bend.
The Rams will remain at the Grove until Friday and at that time they will relocate to a hotel in central London just minutes from Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Parliament and all of the sights London has to offer. Don’t get this twisted, Coach Fisher and the Rams are on a business trip and are focusing on the game or else he would have stayed the first four days closer to a city that has everything to offer from food, shopping to entertainment.
Yesterday the Rams were off from practice, but spent a few hours with about 200 plus youth at a Play 60 event located at Regents Park in Central London, which is owned and maintained by the Royal family. The NFL PLAY 60 is the National Football League’s campaign to encourage all kids to be active in any sport or activity for 60 minutes a day in order to help reverse the trend of childhood obesity and the onset of juvenile diabetes. The team was joined by three former Ram greats in Jackie Slater, Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce who all spent time coaching up the kids as well. The Rams resume practice this afternoon at Stan Kroneke’s Arsenal soccer facility located just a few minutes from the Grove Estates.
Coach Fisher and his staff have not forgot about the sense of urgency, and understand that this is another game on the 2012 schedule, a business trip that just happens to be playing at a neutral site for both teams even though the Rams are being considered the home team.