Monday, August 13, 2007

Other Camp Notes

Aside from real news emanating from Sunday's practice, some human interest truths. Above all, I am happy to report that there is indeed something here for the whole family. First, to my dismay, my wife was genuinely entertained by the the warm-ups. A) Because of the hip-hop soundtrack, which I will discuss at greater length and B) because she loves to see all the players' tight asses (though she has, unsolicited, offered the comment that white football pants are just a little too "hippy"). I've had to get guarantees of assurance from her that she doesn't just watch football to look at all that ass. It would be useless to begrudge her that, though. She loves football. I'll take it at that. Apparently, Justin McCareins has the nicest derriere. So, there you go.

The father-son moments in the stands were interesting. When I would go to games and practices with my father, he would always end up begging me to agree to go. I was in that golden time of spectatorship, between the ages of 6 and 12, and these little guys in the stands were maybe on the younger end of that spectrum. It was the boys (and a few girls) who were doing the wingeing. At first, the fathers were trying to narrate the proceedings, and obviously for some the whole affair was a rite of passage of sorts, which was affecting.

"Watch the man in the red shirt. He's the quarterback. Watch him, Tommy. Tommy! You're not watching!"

"I know nothing's happening, pal, but that's because it's practice. Daddy's trying to explain that."

"Billy, take the foam finger out of your mouth and watch the injured man. We have to see whether he gets up, Billy. He's a very important running back."

"Be a big boy and watch Ben Graham punt. Ben Graham. C'mon. Don't you wanna see the ball go in the air?"

Many of the kids wanted to go home, actually. By the time the practice appeared over at 4:15 pm and the team gathered in a huddle, the fans sensed that the proceedings were at an end, and a group of boys gave a weary cheer of relief. There was more to come, though. This appeased neither the hopeful autograph seekers nor the little boys who wanted a nap very badly, whether they knew it or not.

In other news, it was vaguely amusing to witness the Pete Kendall drama for myself. It's one thing to follow the dissatisfaction of a key offensive player in the news and quite another to actually see it silently but dramatically manifested right before your eyes. Aside from a generally acerbic manner of being, my wife and Pete Kendall also share in common the fact that they are both from Weymouth, MA. She believes she went to high school with several of the Kendall people. She was unhappy to see that Pete did not play well with others to the extent that the others on the offensive line were not standing with him on the sideline, nor he with them. He wants to be elsewhere, and the joke may be on Mangini in that he now needs Pete Kendall more fully at center. In any event, it was interesting to see the degree to which a millionaire player dramatizes both his sense of entitlement and his singular independence. When I told my wife that Kendall contemplated reporting the Jets' minicamp labor violations to the Players Association, she fell squarely in the corner of her fellow Weymouth native. My appeals to her for the need to build team morale fell on deaf ears.

Speaking of deafness, yes, the hip-hop. Sure. New to me. I heard Tupac, Eminem, and Lil' somebody. I'm not so sure that it will accurately recreate the noise that opposing crowds will make, if that is at all the issue. In the event there will be aggressive invitation to freestyle at Foxboro or Orchard Park while the Jets are on offense, our bulls will be ready. What I know of these fans makes me wonder why the Jets do not train, rather, to the haunting strains of Scorpion or Whitesnake. Is it an insult to use the genre as "noise?" I have to believe so, but in the world of football, attitude is everything - attitude given and received. The standards, quality and high aesthetics of music are not an issue in the NFL. Just ask the Bears Shufflin' Crew. Shufflin' on down. Doin' it for you.

And, finally, a Chad Pennington triptych, courtesy of my wife, who was clearly more interested in the human drama.

Chad and his receivers pensively reflect:

Chad perhaps dwells on his need to step up his game in the two-minute drills.

But is loose enough of spirit to offer a joke that plays on the word "rehab."

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