Alarms are early, even for me. I stumble into the bathroom and a new year. Just enough sweet stuff to drink and little enough sleep that I’m just lightly hungover. The adrenaline isn’t kicking in and taking over like it usually does on game day mornings. Maybe, I’m just getting old.
Ginger beer (non-alcoholic), a chicken finger from the fridge, two aspirin from the cabinet: breakfast of champions. SEC Champs striving for more. We will soar all the way across the continent to cheer, as our guys face the top offense in America. We will need to run it down their throats, which suits me fine.
404, the area code I call home, at 4:04 a.m. I’ve showered and am contemplating Uber. Reckoning the worst of the drunk and disorderly have reached their resting spots by now. New Year’s Eve is a whole night of amateur hours playing repeatedly on a reel. I’m real, no amateur, either.
Freezing in the World Capital of College Football, it’ll be 72 in pretty Pasadena. Layering, with the Sony Michel 1 white jersey the feature item. Kiss my girls goodbye and scold one of the cats, then $20 and twenty minutes pass as I reach the World’s Busiest Airport. Used to work there and arrive same time of “day” – it was Hell.
Heaven is football, for huge fans, like us. And, California a pitch-perfect purgatory. I’ve even written a book about. Staying on the sunny side…of life.
Horrible service from the counter lady at IHOP where I have a side of biscuits and an OJ. The manager who ran my food was nice. Security hardly bothers me, even though they’re bitter.
I’m leaving this all behind, I keep telling myself, as I reach the gate without having to take an airport tram. Yes, Dawgs fans are everywhere for the 6 a.m. to LAX. This is the beginning of the story.
“Too early for cheering,” I say to a couple couples seated across from me, waiting to board. We’re directly in front of Grindhouse Killer Burgers, and I wish they were open.
Time passes. We board. Last year’s bowl flight was a short hop to Memphis. I had Richard Hilley to drink with me, and UGA legend Loran Smith comped our drinks.
I’m expecting less. Paid more to get a window on the wing, and I’d be comfy enough if a 6 foot 5 bro wasn’t occupying the middle seat. Too early to party first half of the flight, I squirm.
Then a Bud Light can goes crack and another – she comped me which is a testament to my manners. Little hangover is drowned via drinkability.
Two rows up some post-frat dudes my age (almost 50ish) are working cocktails pretty hard, so I’m not exactly drinking alone.
The flight is 75% Dawgnation and 25% folks caught up in our melee. The energy starts to lift slightly as the plane descends into a foggy early morning in LA.
Two things: 1. It’s like time travel, man, when you fly out West. Leave in the morning, arrive in the morning. 2. Land. America is mostly sparsely populated land. We’ve flown over miles of it.
Getting my game face on, as we prepare for landing. Hollywood!
Holy Todd Gurley, it’s a Los Angeles touchdown; we’ve touched down in LA.
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