If this van's a rockin don't come a knockin
6 August 2007
Today, I took my five year old sons to Redskins training camp. It was the next to last open practice of camp and boy was it hot.
It took us about a little less than hour from Alexandria and cost $4.25 in tolls. We parked in a field, like a concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion.
The fan entrance set up at the entrance to Redskins Park. Note the merch tent at right.
Five year olds Josh (with bag) and Will, pointing the way into Redskins Park. Will wears number 26 Clinton Portis and Josh wears number 56 LaVar Arrington. I confess I had a harder time than I expected explaining a) why LaVar does not play for the Redskins any longer and b) why he doesn't play for any team right now. (He got in a car crash? Playing football? No, he was just in an accident. A football accident? No a car accident. They have cars in football?) This put Josh at a distinct autograph opportunity disadvantage.
Dan Snyder never misses a sponsorship opportunity, and a hilarious one at that. Redskins Training Camp, brought to you by Re/Max? Aren't we in a real estate bubble? Wonder how much Dan worked them over for.
The author, as seen from the perspective of 43 inches (photo by Josh). If this is really what I look like to my kids I need to make some changes in my life.
Number 17 Jason Campbell takes the practice field.
Santana Moss takes the field, dancing in a circle through the hurdles, stretching his groin.
Worldwide Redskins Headquarters. Note the sponsorship banners everywhere. This business must eat your soul.
The man, the legend Coach Joe Gibbs takes the field.
The defensive unit lined up on the left side of the far field in red jerseys.
The offensive unit (number 89 Santana Moss at center) lined up on the right side of the far field, pampered in white.
Four-shot sequence of a pretty good-looking Derrick Frost punt.
The two happiest guys in camp, punter Derrick Frost (right) and kicker Shaun Suisham. Neither has a competitor currently in camp.
Three shots of both units lining up together on the near field, getting ready for the real practice to begin.
The man, the legend Coach Joe Gibbs (center, white shirt looking down) begins to address the team.
Three-shot sequence of James Thrash running the 'deny the touchback' drill, with a volleyball. The special teams assistant would set the runner off then loft the ball up at the goal line and the player would try and prevent the ball from coming down in the end zone. I did not specifically notice them practicing their footwork to keep their feet out of the end zone. If your feet touch the line or the end zone before you leap for the ball, it is considered end zone contact and it's a touchback - don't think I won't bring this up the first time I see it happen in a game.
Receiver number 85 Brandon Lloyd (left, on cycle), keeping his, what? Shin splints loose?
It was so effing hot the kids had to go down to skins. Little tomato faces.
Will finally figured out pouring water over your head cools down your whole body. Basic diplomacy ensured each got half the water on his head.
Receiver number 82 Antwaan Randle El, this season elevated from the number three receiving option to the number two. I predict that is where he will stay.
Obligatory oblivious jackass with a golf umbrella right in front, obscuring a wide swath of prime viewing area.
The Folsom boys go to camp.
Jon Jansen's infamous RV. What goes on in there stays in there, or it better.
It simply got too hot and we had to leave. If I may make some suggestions about how this is run. Some free advice for Dan Snyder, Mr. Marketing Genius:
1. Put in something exclusively for the kids. Something they can do, running around or football skills, something, when they get bored. Although most kids (including my own, they kept wandering around hollering, Clinton Portis rocks!) were having fun at the camp, every single one of every age at some point got bored or needed a distraction.
2. Put in a slurpee or sno-cone machine and you'll make coin. It was so hot.
3. Put in a cooling-mist walkthrough somewhere. It was so hot there must have been hundreds of heat stroke victims waiting to happen and if there was some place people could walk through and get cool, just for a moment, it would have made it more tolerable.
So we left and I suggested slurpees. Do you know we drove around goddamn Ashburn for an hour looking for a 7-11? There aren't any but there is a children's 'gym' next door to every Safeway or Wegman's out there and a Starbuck's on the other side. We finally had to settle on a Robek's smoothie which was not bad but when you just want the icy-crunchy-sweetness of a slurpee, anything else will disappoint. And besides three high-end freaking smoothies came out to 13 dollars when I could have gotten it done for 5 with slurpees.
All in all though it rocked. Hail to the Redskins.
All photos by me unless otherwise noted. Neon sign in header image detail from here.