Battling Jet Lag For Aggie Football

In the past, every time I would hear someone complain about jet lag, I’d usually tell them to ‘man up’ and get on with it.

I will never do that again.

Since returning to the UK, I have only just started to maintain a regular body clock. For days I could sleep no longer than a couple of hours at a time.

As a result, when it came to the weekend, I was in a sorry state. It’s fair to say that the tired version of myself is something I need to assess and improve.

On Friday night, I barely slept at all. Lying there when you have no chance of nodding off has to be one of the most frustrating things ever. Yet I did, for hours.

Right, you can put those violins away now.

I tried everything though. Apart from counting sheep. That is far too cliché for my liking.

Instead, I tried methods such as singing the popular Christmas song ‘The Snowman’ to myself in my head. OK, I probably shouldn’t have shared that. It looks weird written down.

Eventually, I gave up and grumpily marched to the living room where I took residence on the sofa (couch).

I started flicking between channels on the TV until I settled on a hard-hitting documentary called ‘The Cove’. For someone that was trying to find something to watch to help them sleep, I should never have watched it. In hindsight, I’m glad I did though.

If you’ve never heard about it, you have to see it (it’s on Youtube). It’s about a place in Taiji, Japan that sees thousands of dolphins slaughtered in secret every year. Yet no one is doing anything about it.

So, instead of helping me sleep, all it did was make me more awake. I spent the next couple of hours reading everything I could on it.

The morning soon came. I had that floaty feeling of exhaustion. I had to battle through it though. We were due to go up to London and attend the NFL UK Street Party that was being put on to promote the Steelers-Vikings game at Wembley.

In the back of my mind, I knew Texas A&M had a late kick off (midnight UK time). On one hand, this was good because it meant I’d be home by then and could watch it. On the other, it looked doubtful that I’d be still awake at 8pm, let alone reach kick off and see it through to the end.

Once I got to the train station in the morning, desperate times called for desperate measures. I bought a large can of Red Bull. I was counting on it to make me feel human again.

It didn’t. All it did was remind me of the sickly-taste it provided when mixed with vodka, as that used to be a regular tipple of mine as a student. This was perhaps the last thing I needed.

Finally, things started to improve. It was probably the five or six pints of beer that cheered me up. By this point, I’d almost given up on being able to stay up for A&M. After all, beer doesn’t exactly help to keep you awake..

I left central London at 10pm so had two hours to make it home for the game. As long as I could stay conscious on the train, I fancied my chances to watch at least the first half. Any hiccups such as a ‘quick nap’ would mean game over. Not only would I miss my stop as I’d be fast asleep, but I knew as soon as I did fall asleep, that would be it. I’d be done for.

The train felt like it was going about 3 mph the whole way. As I willed myself to stay awake, I equally willed the train driver to put his foot down so I could get home quicker, have a cold shower and watch Johnny Football eat bacon for dinner.

As the train pulled into my town, I’d managed it. All I had now was a straightforward ten minute walk to my apartment.

The fresh air, combined with the dozens of drunk people arguing/fighting/urinating in the street (the norm for an English town on a Saturday night) seemed to heighten my senses.

I’d come this far. I wasn’t going to throw my 12th man towel in now. No way. I was going to stay up for the whole game.

Yes, I struggled here and there (especially during half time), but eventually, I made it to the end.

At 3.23am, the day was over. The Aggies had beaten Arkansas 45-33. I drifted off and dreamed about Deshazor Everett’s pick-six.

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