Remember grade school picture day? Being forced into slightly less-rumpled clothes, having your hair combed, trying not to make a stupid face RIGHT as the picture was taken (or, later on, trying to make exactly the right stupid face right as the picture was taken), all that good stuff?
Welcome to Redskins Park, today, as the team assembled to pose for the 2008 Team Photo.
As with just about everything Coach Zorn has been involved with since being here (see also “jersey selection,” “captains’ portrait,” “cake clean-up,” “synchronized clocks” and who knows what-all else), he had some very specific thoughts about how this should work.
“I thought it was nice,” said Cornelius Griffin. “Very organized.”
“With Z,” added Antwaan Randle El, “he likes to be a little specific about things.”
Rock Cartwright got more specific: “He was like, ‘No long-sleeved shirts, no shirts underneath your jersey.’ He wanted everyone to look the same, and I understand that.”
Not everyone was so understanding; some felt that their innate expressiveness was being compromised. “I was hoping to go out there in my do-rag and my candy cane socks,” said Casey Rabach. “I was gonna go with one sleeve in maroon and one sleeve in yellow, but no T-shirts were allowed. I was gonna wear my Brewers hat, to tell you the truth, but no hats were allowed either.”
The seating/standing chart was organized well in advance, numbers taped to the bleachers to show guys where to go. And I can tell you, guys were PUMPED for it.
“I liked that it was quick,” said Fred Davis. “Not like in college where it takes forever. My college took like, twenty, thirty minutes for pictures.”
“It was a team picture. Everybody got together at the same time, same place, and had a picture,” said Devin Thomas, with muted enthusiasm.
“At least this time it was quick,” said Rabach. “Those jerseys they put us in are not flattering whatsoever. It could be our love handles, but I think it’s the jerseys.”
“It was all right, man,” said Fred Smoot. “Team picture’s just a team picture. We don’t get excited about it, we don’t really care about it. Never. No way.”
Oh, come on. Don’t you care just a little bit, Fred?
“We’ll think about the team picture if we become a special team, like if we go to the Super Bowl, something, then the team picture becomes special.”
And then you’ll regret not being more invested in it.
“No, I’m not. I’m still gonna be like, I don’t care about the team picture.”
The one thing people did care about, or at least the one thing they would admit to caring about, was also the one thing that Coach Zorn left up to the players’ discretion: facial expression.
There were the guys who went tough. “Serious face. Football is really serious, so I didn’t show the whites today,” H.B. Blades said. He wasn’t the only one who felt that way.
“I didn’t smile,” said Cartwright, smiling. “I hardly ever smile. I’m not a smiling type of guy.” I pointed out that he was, in fact, smiling at that moment.
“No, not really,” he grinned. “Every now and then you’ll catch me smiling, but not much.”
Then there were the guys who left it up to the whims of the photographers.
“I did a couple of mugs, a couple of smiles. We’ll see which ones come out,” said Lorenzo Alexander.
“I wasn’t sure if it was smile or be serious, so I did a little of both,” said Griffin.
“I smiled,” said Randle El. “Then I looked mean. Then I had a mouthful of sunflower seeds. We’ll see which one they use.”
And there were also guys who tried to straddle the line.
“I smiled,” said Smoot, but he qualified it quickly. “You know, you can’t SMILE-smile, because it’s not a smile-smile picture, so I was like in between smile and tough guy.”
“I kinda went with a smirk,” said Rabach. “So you’re not Soft Happy Guy, but you’re not Meathead Jock Guy either.” And what is your smirk going to say, when people see the picture?
“I think it’ll say ‘Who am I? Who do you think I am? I may be a nice guy, but watch out.'”
New acquisition Mike Green had probably the most interesting take on the picture, though. “It’s not really weird,” he said, “but you know, come up for a week and then getting to step right in and take a picture, it’s a little different. It’s a good team, and I felt like I came at the right time to be a part of it, and I’m glad to be on the picture, so they’ll remember me. I’m immortalized.”
On the whole, it all still seemed like much more fun than school picture day, no matter what you weren’t allowed to wear.