Randle El's Celebration
The first 50 or so times I saw Antwaan Randle El doing his Crouching Redskin Posing Receiver squat, I wasn't quite sure what was going on. The Haka, maybe? I wasn't the only one who was confused.
"The first time I seen him do that I thought he was having a spasm," Mike Sellers told me this week. "Then, you know, he's a godly person, so I kind of figured it out."
In fact, as Randle El has explained to both Extreme Skins and the Redskins Blog, when Randle El gets down in that stance and draws his hands across the sky, he's "opening up the windows of heaven and letting God pour out his blessings," as he told Matt Terl. And while the TV cameras only show him doing it after he scores or makes a big catch, in fact he does it quite frequently during games. Like, really frequently. After mundane plays.
"All the time," he told me. "I mean, if somebody else makes a play, I do it. If it's third-and-short and we don't get it, I'll still do it. It's acknowledging and glorifying God, that's what it is. It's not because of a big play or anything like that."
The reason I'm finally writing about this is because last week's game could hardly have provided a larger contrast in wide receiver celebrations. Terrell Owens scored for the Cowboys; he didn't do anything with popcorn, but he did attempt an extravagant celebration, which ended with him falling over. Randle El and James Thrash scored for the Skins; the former opened up the windows of heaven, and the latter fell to his knees and shouted out "Hallelujah" loud enough for the cameras to pick it up.
I asked Thrash if that was his typical TD celebration; "I don't know, I don't score that much," he joked. "That's just an expression of who I am. I love the Lord, so once I got that touchdown, the first thing that came to my mind was to say, "Hallelujah," which means Praise the Lord."
Now, this is pretty much a religion-free zone, so I'm not going to judge any of these decisions, although I will say that T.O. often scores higher on the creativity scale. But I did find it interesting that Randle El said he usually shouts "Glory" during his move, that he does it off the field as well as on (although he said in, say, the grocery store, he'd just raise up his arms but not actually open the windows), and that this all originated from the Steelers' trip to the Super Bowl, at which time Randle El's standard celebratory move was still a slide.
"At the Super Bowl I got a word from one of my prayer partners," he explained, "and the Lord told her every time I caught the ball, every time I blocked, every time I ran, every play, every time I did something, she said, 'Shout Glory.' She said that's what the Lord had given her to tell me. And I [did], the whole Super Bowl. I was doing it the whole game, and then it just kind of evolved from there."
So I asked the natural question: was he really just running around the field shouting out "Glory!"
"Yeah, after every play," he confirmed. "If I blocked you, if I caught the ball, if I ran the ball, of course after I through the ball. So that's the way it came."
Then one game, after he was in Washington, he kind of threw his arms out a little bit. Then he started lifting up more, and then he started opening those windows.
"I think it's awesome," Thrash said, which wasn't a huge shock. "It's unque, too; you don't see a lot of people doing it....I'll do it with him, though, definitely."
I hoped Randle El might point out to Thrash that, even if he wanted to praise God after his touchdown, he might find a more original way of doing so, but Randle El said Thrash did just fine.
"That's just as good," he said of the knees-down arms-up deal. "Any way you glorify God. You have to realize that He has rule over it all. We always ask His will to be done. If we would have lost, we still would have glorified him."
This was all quite a bit different from Clinton Portis, who marked his touchdown last week--before it was called back due to a penalty--with an intricate T.O.-and-Usain-Bolt flecked bow-and-arrow routine. I asked him to explain--yams????--but he couldn't stop laughing.
"What you thought it was?" he asked me. Something about T.O., I ventured, since he very clearly makes a T and an O with his arms, then mimes shooting someone in the rear with an arrow. "It wasn't really about T.O.," Portis said, laughing more. "They took my touchdown, so I ain't gonna use it."
When I asked Sellers how he celebrates touchdowns, Chris Samuels interjected that Sellers offers all praise to the weight room, or something to that effect anyhow.
"I don't get in the end zone any more," Sellers pointed out, although Samuels tried to imitate Sellers flexing his upper body, which he apparently does whenever anything good happens.
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