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For eight or so months out of the year, I live in post-football depression, trying to pretend hockey and baseball are a fraction as compelling as America’s sport. Until late August, my weekend plans involve lots of liquor and nothing else, save for some ass and waking up at 1 p.m. in a someone else’s house. After the sex-with-a-condom tease that is the NFL preseason and the week or two of collegiate “tune-up” games, our favorite sport returns to reclaim my Saturdays and Sundays.
It’s a thrill to have back — for a few weeks. But, by late October, football starts to take a toll on my body and starts putting a major damper on my favorite weekend pastime: being idle and hungover. And my teams’ bye weeks synced up this week and it couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.
Last weekend, for instance, I put an 80 proof bow on what was a shitty week at work. I went straight from work back to my alma mater so I could drink until I was someone else’s problem and still wake up in time to tailgate an early afternoon game. I jumped bar-to-bar, meeting up with old friends, buying $2.50 kamikazes for any girl who promised not to pepper spray me, draining drink specials and melting the magnetic strip off of my debit card. I swilled what seemed like gallons of three-dollar IPAs and one-dollar house drafts until things got hazy. Did I climb to the roof of a friend’s townhouse and try pissing on/in his neighbor’s bedroom window? I don’t remember, but the folded summons in my pocket suggested I had.
My next recollection was my “morning flower” alarm introducing me to an old romantic interest still asleep next to me and a devastating hangover — the kind of which you can feel your heartbeat in your face and your bowels and stomach have agreed to mutually assured destruction. It was just a few ticks past 8:00 a.m. and the tailgate was setting up soon, so I had little time to pull my broken, defeated body together, find my car and drive to the stadium.
The following hours consisted of some swaying, cursing, heavy nose-breathing, a few giant purple Gatorades, and a four-pack of Pediasure. I rocked some quality sex hair and sported the same clothes from previous night, still reeking of hoppy beers and stamped with dried cheese. “I can’t keep doing this to myself,” I muttered at least a half-dozen times as the sun encroached on high noon.
But I did. I survived the tailgate, forewent the actual game and chased my residual hangover with some Natty pounders until the afternoon waned. I left and picked up a case of nicer, classier shit (some Rolling Rock to be specific – the youngins see a green bottle and assume it’s high brow) and invited myself back to the chapter house to catch the late games and regain some drinking stamina. By 8 p.m., I was ready to do it all over again and joined the actives in throwing a we-finally-won-a-homecoming-game celebration. And I got hammered all over again. I don’t remember much besides walking room to room with some beautiful, vaguely familiar undergrads on each arm, announcing my arrival with a swift door kick and shouting “daddy’s home.”
Sunday morning was much, much worse. The same morning alarm rolled me off a grungy frat couch at the ass crack of dawn so I could move my car away from the main drag before the city started ticketing. I wobbled up the street, one eye closed, again muttering, “I can’t keep doing this to myself,” as I fell into my vehicle and drove back to the suburbs. Unshowered, unkempt, and most of all, unapologetic, I found a dive bar on the drive home and stopped in for a hangover-buster on a bun and a margarita (I had to replenish some electrolytes). I sucked down the marg, ate 2/3 of the burger, plus some coleslaw, stood up, shuffled to the bathroom and yarfed in a urinal. I paid my tab and made a speedy, sheepish exit. I wound up watching my Sunday team in bed.
My cumulative hangover haunted me well into the night and I’d contend even Monday morning.
This past weekend, both my teams were idle and it couldn’t have come at a better time. My body is tired from the season’s first trimester. Football is a brutal sport and it takes its toll. My old, broken, early-20s build can scarcely take the punishment I subject it to, weekend after weekend, in the name of the sport we so love. It’s a young man’s sport and I need the bye week to heal my broken body and prepare for the coming Saturday..