Monday, August 13, 2007

Oy Vei

Lots of things to talk about, most of which you've probably read about already. Kellen Clemens' continued progress. Thomas Jones' injury. Thomas Jones' injury.

Oy. There I am, enjoying a remarkably seasonable day in what should be the dog days. I am surrounding by what might be called the Jets Nation, mostly - you know - guys who look like me. Many hefty men in Pennington and Martin jerseys. And gals there, too, many of whom are dressed to the nines. Why? Because it's Jets training camp.

Think about it - any breaking news that comes out of training camp can't be good. "Kellen Clemens Improves!" just doesn't really have much strength as a headline. Even preseason wins, like the 31-16 win over the Falcons, aren't conclusive of anything, really. And to tell you the truth, it is very difficult to tell who is doing particularly well. There were a couple of people who dropped passes. That looked bad. Oooo, he's dropped two in a row. But really, I don't know anything better than the other schmo who pretends to know more than the other guys at the water cooler and urinal.

But when the big free agent get from last year's NFC Champion team goes down with a leg injury and walks off in a cast, everything, including everyone's breathing, stops on a dime. Yes, it was scary. It was scary the way it happened because I don't think anybody saw it happen. The backfield were doing blocking drills, which distracts you as much as Pong. But then again, what I was watching while Jones went down doesn't ring with me, either.

The next thing I know, there's the kind of commotion that develops when someone drops a fragile item in a store. Then someone goes, "That's Thomas Jones, down." No, I think. No. He'll get up. Get up, Tom.

Well, he did, and when he did, it became apparent that the entire bleacher crowd in the bright sun were watching his every move, for they applauded. Indeed, he stood, he walked, all of which may mean nothing bad or nothing good, for that matter. He was given all of the medical attention possible. I assume that the spiritual essence of the late great Dr. James Nicholas was also conjured. Or at least, it felt that way. There was profound gravity amid the faithful. "Oh, that's it," one guy said. "That's it. That's it. That's bad. That's as bad as it gets. It's over. We're done. We're done. If he's hurt, we're done." Either this guy hasn't been following football for very long, or he's been following the Jets for way too long.

The old Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times," applies here. You go to training camp just to see the players and feel like you are the kind of fan who knows more than the other guy. You're the guy who knows whether or not Cedric Houston is in the camp this year. But really, you really hope Nothing happens. If Something does, you might be in trouble. And by you, I mean we, and when I say we, I mean me.

Even as I write this, updates on his condition will be coming in. Or not. But being there helped stave off the feeling of powerlessness that fans usually feel when they have to rely on blogs reporting from Hofstra. Once Jones walked off in the cast (and apparently did less impact-based training with his teammates later on) one can actually see that, indeed, the practice goes on, so does the team, and that all is otherwise business as usual. All is not lost. For God's sake, I think. I'm worse than a Golden Retriever in a thunderstorm. Relax.

Unless of course we lose Leon Washington. Then I will really worry. Get better soon, Thomas Jones. Get better now.

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