Under The Z-Shade

One of the big innovations of this season’s training camp has been the Z-shade, Coach Zorn’s portable shelter to keep the players, coaches, and trainers out of the brutal sun.

Players under the shade during practice.

Players under the shade during practice.

Todd Collins says, “Oh, the Z-spot? It works good. The big guys especially like it. On a hot day it makes a big difference. It’s a good idea, and I’ve never seen it before. ”

The main questions people have asked about them have been “Did Coach really invent them?”; “Why aren’t there any for the fans?”; and “Why aren’t there any for the media?” (Interestingly, the last two questions are asked by two totally different groups of people. I’ll let you guess who asks each.)

On the heels of those, though, the questions that I’ve personally gotten about it is “Does it work?” and “Have you been under it?” To which I can now say “Yes, a bit,” and “Yes, here, look.”

View from under the Z-shade.

View from under the Z-shade.

It’s a pretty straightforward contraption, a framework of PVC piping with a tarp stretched across the top. It casts a nice shadow, although the amount of shade you really get is obviously limited by the angle of the sun.

The Z-shade earlier in training camp, with fans in the background.

The Z-shade earlier in training camp, with fans in the background.

The main accessory I wouldn’t have thought of, but without which the shade would’ve been useless, are the riveting along the top of the tarp, which help vent the heat instead of letting it build up. (That said, I was under it by myself, not with 40 guys sweating from individual drills, so it’s possible that the actual in-practice usage is a little different.)

And it’s not just for comfort, as Pete Kendall points out. “That’s a pretty neat idea. I’m sure there’s a lot of old school crusty folks who are a little disappointed to see that out there, but it helps with cooling, and with preventing melanoma for some of us fairer skinned gents.”


22 Responses

  1. All Right Matt, it’s been two weeks and you are having a tough time getting this blogging about FOOTBALL down. U R writing about the birds & the bees but nothing about football and whats going on in camp. I have been bouncing back and forth from the Insider with Jason La Canfora and Redskin.com to see who will provide me with updates about football. And a clear second place is you and your crap that you write about. You have access and you rather talk about the Z Shade instead of football action. You had to go to G-burg or Rockville High with that kind of insightfulness. If this job is not cut out for you and you are now in over your head just let someone know and make the call yourself and bench yourself for a better writer. You write well but your focus is off a great deal….

  2. Hey, you must not be very bright or not know how to read that well because that is not the point of this website.

    I didn’t want to name call but you are an idiot.

    Read the About this Blog link on the top right or if that is to confusing, click here.

  3. Matt- Dont listen to him! I love your blogs! Keep it up!

  4. HA.

    Only in MD do you get people raggin’ on you for what highschool you went to.

  5. That was harsh..lol. I have to agree though. It’s bad enough we ALL have to wait until Sunday to see any action. At least give us some practice highlights. Practice bloopers would be nice even.

    Redskins Diehard for life

  6. I disagree. It’s all these crazy insider things at Redskins Park that I’ve been wondering about for years that makes me tune into this blog. I enjoy all the details about random crap that you don’t get to hear about every day.

  7. I’m sick and tired of people coming on this site and bashing Matt for the job he’s doing. I don’t know where you went to school, but apparently you can’t read either.

    Clearly in the “About this Blog” Matt states:

    “This is not a news blog. This blog will not be exclusively devoted to on-the-field activity, nor exclusively to practice, injuries or anything like that. Our staff at Redskins.com do an excellent job covering the news, and there are plenty of other outlets for that as well.”

    You need to look at the content on this site differently than any of the other sites. You want news, watch the NFL Network or Redskins.com TV. Hell, you can even wander over to Extremeskins and hang out with the rest of the unproductive posters.

    To Matt:
    Keep up the great work! I’m getting to see Redskins Park from a completely different perspective. I’ll head elsewhere for all my injury and player updates.

  8. Matt,

    Can you ban people that post on you blog?

  9. Yeah Matt, don’t worry about it, your doing a fine job. As I and many others have written here, we want Redskins. And most of what you are coming up with is stuff I didn’t know about my beloved team.

    Keep it up, Matt

  10. Matt, it is very obvious that you are a rookie at this, and i agree with some people that you are doing an ok job, but on the other hand, you should consider it a privilege to be ableto write this blog and follow the team, so i for one would like to see more football content and not incidental stuff. By the way, when you are in the public eye, people are going to take shots at you, if you can’t take the heat, then stay out of the kitchen.

  11. Dont listen to the haters Matt! I love this blog, You give stories no one else would tell, and I love that! This is the first thing I do in the morning, come to this blog. Keep it up!

  12. Hey, all — just wanted to thank everyone for the support, advice, and criticism (depending on what each of you offered). I appreciate everyone reading and offering suggestions, and if you have a specific complaint, feel free to email redskinsblog@redskins.com and let me know. No need to talk about banning anyone for anything. Thanks again, everyone, for reading.

  13. Matt, you’re doing a great job! I never looked at blogs before this season so I don’t really know good from bad. But I can tell you I read this blog everyday and I find it interesting. If I want news on the team or individual players I know where to find it. Apparently the haters don’t. I’ll watch Larry or one of the networks to get the info that these guys all bitch about.. The people who complain probaly think they can do a better job than the players too! Keep up the good work and find out who does the painting there.

  14. Matt,

    You should ask Jim Zorn if he has ever considered adding a cooling mist to his “Z-shade.” That seems like it’d be easy to do and would definitely keep the players cool. He could run the mist hose though the PVC and cut holes in the PVC to allow for the mist to reach the players. Or just run a mist hose along the outside of the PVC. Whatever… That would definitely make a big difference though!

  15. I love how so many people choose not to read the important info.

    Great job, Matt.

  16. Agree with the majority of the responders – I can go elsewhere for stats, etc, but this site is giving me info I’ve never seen before, and I’ve been a fan since Vince Lombardi, Sonny and Billy were here! Keep it up.

  17. Football Fan- please tell me you went to BCC or Einstein to be able to take potshots at Gaithersburg or Rockville (which is a magnet school, but thanks for playing.) Did you even make it to high school? “U” seem to have some literacy issues that need to be taken care of ASAP.

  18. Matt ,
    You have done a fabulous job educating the reader. You have done an excellent job bring a balance of various topics to your readers. You have given us a window to training camp that we would not have gotten at anytime in the past. Keep on posting. You are doing great.

  19. Is everyone at Ashburn just too polite to point out to Coach Zorn that you can buy sunshades at any Costco or Wal-Mart?

  20. It is horrible that an old, former Redskin — Otis Wonsley — swindles money out of innocent people. Hopefully, the players today will learn how to manage their money so that when they are in their 50s they do not go around lying & cheating….He said Coach Gibbs offered him a position, but he turned it down because of long hours…

  21. […] Z Shades, that hit of the summer, were back out, now repurposed as Zbrellas. Not entirely unexpectedly, this […]

  22. Redskin on the filed but NOT off the field— Otis Wonsley — takes for the thrill of it. He has no conscious even though he tries to act like a Christian. In Church he is a good person. Ouside Church he is a fraud. Beware…

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