Isaac Sopoaga leads by example
Isaac Sopoaga often uses his Samoan heritage to bring a unique energy into the 49ers locker room.
Known as one of the team’s emotional leaders for his enigmatic personality, Sopoaga showed that liveliness to the media during a press conference on Monday.
Sopoaga entered the media tent at 49ers headquarters and stepped up to the podium with headphones in his ears. The entrance puzzled most of the media members in the attendance until finally a reporter asked the nose tackle what he was listening to.
Sopoaga ran with it to start by pretending he couldn’t hear the question, which drew a loud laugh from the media present before he finally responded that he was listening to a musical genre not likely to make the team’s pre-game playlist anytime soon.
“I love my Samoan church music,” the 6-foot-2, 330-pounder said. “The words are strengthening. They are some powerful wise words.”
The upbeat tunes seem to be keeping the Samoan in a positive frame of mind through more than three weeks of training camp.
His positive outlook could also be attributed to the physical condition Sopoaga has entered the 2012 season in.
Sopoaga’s off-season training program is not the most orthodox.
Each April, Sopoaga returns to his home of American Samoa to compete in an intense and physically taxing rowing race.
Sopoaga represents his village of Fagasa in the annual Fautasi Race alongside his father Tupuola Laniselota, the boat captain. A Fautasi race consists of 40 rowers in long fiberglass boats rowing seven miles offshore. The rowers then set themselves at a buoyed start point before racing back into Pago Pago Harbor.