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My Bad

By Mark Solway | August 16th, 2006

Despite my fear of being castigated, I will openly admit it: Clinton Portis’ injury is my fault. I know, I know, it sounds a bit odd that I, a Redskins fan living 600 miles away from Redskins Park could have been the cause of his misfortune, but it’s true. You see, Boss puts a tremendous amount of pressure on us Bloggers to produce content, it’s practically a sweatshop around here. Last week, over a slice of stale bread that Boss provides us twice a day, I had been mulling over the possibility of a post that explored and contemplated my pessimistic side, my ‘What if?’ side. And one of my ‘What if?’ questions was indeed, you guessed it, ‘What if Clinton Portis gets hurt?’ Now, I’m not a superstitious guy, but it’s plainly obvious that had I not asked this question, Portis wouldn’t be in a sling today. Any fool could see that. But his injury just adds to my originally intended point about pessimism, as you’re about to see. I’m mostly an optimist. I don’t like to admit it, because it’s embarrassing. It’s not cool to be an optimist these days. It’s like wearing your pants up around your bellybutton, instead of showing off your thong (not that I wear a thong). Most Democrats are optimists – ’nuff said. But there is a part of me, a small part that is a pessimist. The part that is always asking ‘What if?’ when it comes to the Redskins. ‘What if a key player gets hurt? What if Joe Gibbs can’t control his diabetes and can’t coach anymore? What if Al Saunders isn’t all he’s cracked up to be? What if all the cheerleaders get kicked off the squad because Chris Cooley dated them?’ So many questions with so little purpose, and so difficult to ignore. But there is one shining concept that gets me through those questions, and that is that I am a part of the Redskins Faithful. That group of people who think that, despite being down 28 with 3 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, we can somehow pull it out. The key part there is ‘faith’. We talk about it on the boards quite a bit in reference to Joe Gibbs, but after somewhat poor performances (like last week’s), we tend to forget. But I’ll take that faith a step further. I have faith that Joe Gibbs knows what he’s doing, but moreover, I have faith that Joe Gibbs has faith in his players, and I think that says a lot. It’s not an easy thing to have faith in someone else’s faith. We all know that when a problem arises, such as an injured key player, that Joe Gibbs frets. He doesn’t really worry, I think, more of a fretting thing. He has to fret because he’s the head coach, and it’s in his job description. Anyway, within that fretting I believe is also a knowledge that his players, the ones he has hand-picked to be a part of his team, to be ‘Redskins’, will not let him down. He has built this team on character, not egos, and that construction method is most valuable when things are not all ice cream and roses. If you believe that Ladell Betts and Rock Cartwright thought anything other than ‘I’m going to need to step up’ when they saw Portis go down, you may need to check your faith in Joe Gibbs’ faith. I don’t go to training camp, I don’t hang around the players, and I don’t eat dinner with Joe Gibbs regularly. But I do pay attention, and it’s blatantly obvious that this selfless attitude runs rampant throughout the team. As the preseason continues, we’ll see many more pessimistic posts and threads on this board. You may even be temped to jump into that dirty pool of pessimism (I think someone may have peed in there). I mean, Joe Gibbs is a genius, but faith in his coaching abilities has nothing to do with injuries…..right? Wrong. Have faith that this team is composed of men who think more of their allegiance to their team than they do of their own stats. Have faith that Joe Gibbs selected each of these guys for a reason, for their willingness to buy into what he’s selling even when things look bleak. Have faith that our team, unlike so many other teams in the league, is a team where the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts. Have faith that when one goes down, there will be another there to take his place. I believe that Portis or no Portis, this team will be successful. You can chirp at me all day with statistics that compare Betts to Portis, or Rumph to Springs, and I’m not buying it. I’ve got more important things to do. Like think ‘What if?’ about Terrell Owens’ hammy. Wish me…

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