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The Beginning - An Ode To Spandex

Hello Redskins Nation. Glad to be among you. This is my first blog entry on Washington's favorite team, so forgive me if it goes astray. I woke up this morning and couldn't believe training camp was underway. Just wanted to welcome you all to my little cranny in internet land, and invite you all to participate. I had a blast doing a daily blog during the World Cup in Germany, and look forward to connecting with as many readers as possible on this Skins blog, too (and if my new soccer friends want to chime in as well and talk some futbol from time to time as well, far be it for me to stop them).

I thought I'd give my philosophy on this thingy as we get started. Basically, I want to have some fun, hopefully entertain some people and start a dialogue about whatever interests you. I like to deal with the many strange and offbeat things that happen covering this team, but if there are days when you want hardcore X's and O's, by all means send in a comment and let me know. I figure we do a lot of that already in our non-bloggy coverage of the team, but I am game for whatever. I'm kind of looking at this as an extension of the web chats I do, and, since I've really been given no parameters or restrictions from management thus far on this blog (what were you guys thinking?), I'm sticking with that ethos until told otherwise. Ah, sweet freedom.

I'll try to post stuff around lunchtime, when I am told net traffic is the highest, but admit some days I may not be able to do it until later at night when I get home and my wife and baby are sleeping. Weekends will probably be slow, but I'll give it the ol' college try five days a week at first, and we'll see how it goes. Again, please feel free to chide, deride and ridicule me. I learned long ago it comes with the job.


Monday, and the opening of training camp was notable for a few things, but what shocked me most was the number of guys wearing spandex shorts or tights, with no mesh shorts over them. It just struck me as kind of weird, like looking at one of those hairless cats or something. Especially the defensive backs wearing the tight, white shorts with nothing over them ( I won't name names, you guys know who you are).

One dude pulled off the cycling look, however, and of course it was a receiver. Always-suave wideout Brandon Lloyd (forever to be known on this blog as B.Lloyd) was rocking some long, black tights despite these crazy-muggy temperatures, and never seemed to break a sweat. After Monday's practice I felt it my duty to get to the bottom of this unique fashion choice (scrappy understudy receiver Jimmy Farris went with the same get up), and B.Lloyd, an offseason rapper and all-around cool character, was more than willing to indulge.

Lloyd, one of the countless big offseason acquisitions, said that in the heat there's nothing more distracting than having your mesh shorts stick to your legs "restricting your knee drive", and that these pants also allow for a better knee explosion. But there's more to it than that. Seems many a great San Francisco wide receiver has espoused these quirky pants during training camp, and Mr. Lloyd is another ex-49'er to go that route.

"Jerry Rice did it - he left," Lloyd said. "Owens (T.O.) did it - he left. Cedric Wilson did it - he left. I'm doing it - I left." Lloyd was rolling with laughter at this point, and I was cracking up right along with him, although now that I listen to this interview on tape, I'm not quite sure why. Anywho, he went on. "But it's just one of those things ...Any little thing bothering you, you don't want it. You don't want to even think about your shorts. That's the last thing you want to think about it."

Lloyd also claimed he had no idea if the pants were stylish or not, or how they looked, but I'm not sure I entirely believe him on that one. Anyone making it out to Redskins Park for a practice, let me know what you think (I'd be shocked if all are not at least a little freaked out by the players wearing the white lycra shorts). And in the interest of full disclosure, Farris is tight with T.O. and a former 49ers himself, so I don't want to give the impression he's taking all his cues from Lloyd.

-0-

Those making the trek to Ashburn be warned. Water is going for $2 and soda for $3. Danny has indeed thought of everything, and if you arrive to the Park and realize you don't have a pen to get that autograph you covet, he's got you covered. You can buy a sharpie at the souvenir stand, but it'll cost you 3 bucks. Not sure what the going rate is on those; it's been a long time since I used to stake out the team hotels when baseball teams visited my beloved hometown of Baltimore, but unfortunately not nearly long enough since my house was robbed twice in a six month span, with all of my signed memorabilia and baseball cards stolen ... Since I'm on a baseball rant, just want to send a big shout out to Theo Epstein, my Red Sox boy genius GM. Nice moves at the deadline. Way to sure things up. Two years ago I was dancing for joy with Nomar sent packing, sensing big things after Esptein pulled a couple of masterstrokes. But his inactivity at this deadline could be just as significant, for all the wrong reasons ... Went to see "The Devil Wears Prada" with my wife over the weekend, one of our last outings for a long time given the nature of this beat. I let her pick the movie because she hasn't been feeling well, and frankly, that just the kind of dude I am. Had a bad feeling all along, and man, what a crappy flick. One cliché after the next. One predictable plot turn after the next. We both wanted to see the Al Gore environmental documentary, but it wasn't playing until 10, which is sleepy time ever since our daughter came along ...

I love the fanaticism of Skins fans as much as the next guy, but the droves of people wearing heavy, burgundy jerseys in this heat was mind-boggling. Maybe I'm just as extreme sweater or something, but I can't see putting anything but a t-shirts and shorts on for a few hours of baking under the sun ... Saw a bunch of stragglers still waiting for autographs outside the Park around 8 pm staring into cars to see if players were leaving. Should any of those people be reading this, I have a heads-up for you. All of the players are leaving in the two big busses headed back to the conference center the team is occupying, so it's probably slim pickings to chose that strategy. A noble approach, but probably won't net much success until the veterans break camp. I'm told new offensive guru Al Saunders was saluted by fans leaving Redskins Park Monday night, however, so if it's coaches you're after it might work ... We've all be caught up in talking about how hot it is, but in these parts there's more than just the humidity to fight: This place is crawling with flesh-nibbling bugs of all sorts and some of the beefiest dragon flies I have ever seen. They travel in hordes and if a swarm of them decide to buzz by your head, look out. I was getting eaten alive at the morning session today ... Alright, that's it for now. Got to write a few stories before the next practice starts. Thanks in advance to all who checked out the debut of this bad boy, and I'll keep blogging away, for better or for worse.
Cheers.

By Jason La Canfora  |  August 1, 2006; 1:46 PM ET
 
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