(sleep isn’t really a relaxing pastime for me, but a necessary evil inhuman lives that must be managed alongside regular toilet breaks and eating)
Tonight, I intend to do something rather silly (beyond wearing a tie): I will try to stay up until one in the morning, to watch an American Football game between New England, who I support, and Indianapolis, who I do not.
Watching NFL games is tough enough here in the UK; we only get two games a week on Sky Sports, and we have no commentators; we just jump on the back of CBS, Fox or ABC, leading to sudden transitions between British pundits I’ve watched for years, and weird new commentators that change every week.
Length is another problem: I’m not saying the games are too long to watch and get a day’s necessary work done, but the most popular sport in Britain, watching Super Sunday on Sky Sports, takes two hours, or four tops if you watch both games; one NFL game lasts four hours or so. As a result, my work schedule has enough free time built into it, by nature of my life outside of watching sports, for one football match; it is not flexible enough to accommodate four hours of an NFL game, without waking up extra-early on any given Sunday.
The games’ placement on Sundays is also problematic, as I have to choose between being brain-dead on Monday, or not watching my team play (because New England are always on the bloody late spot); I quite like the Patriots, but I like being able to wake up the next day even more.
There’s also the obvious timing issue: that ‘early’ games start at about six, ‘late’ games at nine, and the so-called ‘Prime Time’ matches, which are invariably the best games to watch from a neutral perspective each week, kick off at one int he fraking morning. As a result, I’ll only watch a handful of games every year, despite being quite into this peculiar sport, as my caffeine-deprived body is often physically unable of staying up late enough to watch most games.
However, today, I have tried to manage my sleeping pattern to allow me to stay up to watch this thing; usually, I get up at eight on weekends, but today I got up at eleven, perhaps inventing the Strategic Lie-In in the process, and the game’s helpful placement on a Saturday means I can lie in and be sleep-deprived tomorrow, instead of Monday morning.
I am aware of the difficulty of this plan: if my normal weekend day runs eight to midnight, and the game is set to finish around four or five in the morning, logic would suggest I needed a five-hour lie-in to be able to get through it; reality shows that I only stayed in bed for another three hours.
Also, even if I get through the game, I’ll probably be too tired to form any opinions on the match other than ‘Yay, we won!’ or ‘Boo, we lost!’; it’s not impossible to watch a sports game without analysing the play in great detail, but its something I enjoy doing for Premier League matches, and when I watch highlights on NFL games on Monday mornings after a weekend’s matches.
I suppose I could try to record the game, or watch it during the day on Sunday, but then I run the risk of spoilers: a wayward click on my bookmarks bar would show me the result, and I’d have to scroll down my Facebook feed with great caution, as I have several friends on there who will definitely watch the game and post about it, and I’ve liked the pages of the NFL and the Patriots themselves, who will both definitely reveal the score in some way.
But regardless of this particular game, I feel the invention of the Strategic Lie-In is of great importance: I’m sure it’s been discovered before by people, but this is the first time I’ve found a use for it; the Strategic Early Bed has been a staple of my life for a year now, as I go to bed at nine to allow for getting up at six without being a zombie, but I guess I hadn’t thought about the Strategic Lie-In before, what with at least five of my getting-up times a week fixed.
I hope I can use this new-found means of managing my body in the future: lie-ins shouldn’t just be for lazy people or for recovering from the inherent sleep deprivation of school or work, but they can be used in advance, to prepare one’s body for late-night activities, in a way that has none of the oversleeping-based risks of a nap.