The days of Uncle Nate covertly handing Johnny Football a cheeky Bud Light on Northgate will be a thing of the past.
Welcome to the real world, bro. Damn, it’s good.
As the big day inched closer, the age-old question loomed large. What do you get the man that already has everything?
No matter how much you spend, whatever you get him is going to look crappy as it sits embarrassed in the shadow of the Heisman Trophy.
Moreover, Johnny is a bloke who is used to the finer things in life. If you were thinking of getting him an Xbox One, save your time, money and the space on the pre-order list. As if he hasn't got 50 of them already. Plus, with his banged up thumb, a game console is the last thing he needs right now.
So, how do you make your mark?
Well, step aside people. Make way for the master.
My plan began by convincing the Manziel entourage to advise Johnny to pop over the Atlantic for some sort of training program. Possibly a passing academy? For some reason, they didn't seem keen.
I went back to the drawing board. Another idea needed to be floated.
Minutes later, I suggested that Johnny would benefit from a relaxing weekend in London where he could contemplate his NFL prospects.
He’d have zero distractions as 99.9% of people in London wouldn't know who the hell he was. Turning 21 is also an irrelevant birthday here. The drinking age is 18, but realistically, as long as you've got a pulse, drink away.
To my amazement, his people thought it was a jolly good idea.
To kick the weekend off, I’ll be brutally honest with him:
Johnny, some parts of this adventure will make you want to jump on the first flight back home. It’s going to be a world away from one of Drake’s parties where you’re surrounded by Cristal champagne and girls that live in bikinis.
We’re heading to a grim reality, but the underbelly of London shall be our oyster.
Before he has time to react, we'll be plunged into a greasy East London cafe. This sort of eatery makes the College Station Denny’s look like an effin’ Hard Rock Cafe.
We'll plough down a full English breakfast. The nutrition chefs at A&M will wince. Especially as the meat will be barely cooked and served on an unwashed plate.
I'll nod at Johnny. He'll look at me with a slight disgust but with an unspoken gratitude. This is character building. For both of us.
The fact is, we'll come to this dive not through choice, but out of necessity. We have to line our stomachs for the day ahead. Otherwise, Johnny's chances of remembering his jersey number after he’s had seventeen pints of 12.6% British ale will be non-existent.
London isn't all about getting pissed and eating dodgy food. Of course not. Did you see the Olympics? We were the talk of the town, even if I had no idea what was going on in the opening ceremony.
With that in mind, I'll treat Johnny to some typical British sport. He’ll have a few options to choose from.
Firstly, our version of football. We can pop along to somewhere like West Ham or Millwall and partake in a right ‘tear up.’ I reckon Johnny can handle himself, especially if he imagines the geezer he's fighting is ESPN’s Darren Rovell. Next up is rugby. A brutal sport that I think is pants. Off the menu it goes.
Finally, cricket. Ahhh. A quintessential part of our culture. Explaining it to the Texan population proved extremely difficult when I was in College Station. People's faces when I told them that games can last five days and end in a tie were priceless. As was Johnny’s when I told him this is what I have in store for him. His face soon lit up once I explained that at cricket, it is socially acceptable to wear fancy dress. Memories of Scooby Doo naturally came flooding back.
True story. The last time I went to a cricket match, I was sat next to a group of fifteen humans. Fourteen of them were dressed as chefs. One was dressed as a lobster. They spent the whole day chasing the lobster around the stadium. That’s what happens at cricket. It’s a social sport that you spend 80% of the day drinking and having a laugh. The other 20% you’re taking a slight interest into what’s actually happening on the field.
After leaving the cricket match, we'll embrace something that’s alien to Johnny. Public transport. We won't have to worry about the bobbies giving us an unwarranted parking ticket as we could get the tube, bus or taxi.
On the way home, to satisfy the midnight munchies, there will be no Subway or Fuego. Just the option of meat gravy pie or bangers and mash.
That’s when, out of nowhere, a group of American journalists will fall out of a tree.
Johnny being Johnny, he'll smooth things over by explaining that he's in London scouting the place as it’s a possibility he could be playing in one of the three NFL International Series games. Even pissed up to his eyeballs, the man is still a pro.
Disclaimer: Even though everything here is false, I am from England and do like cricket.
Read the blog of the author = Footballosophy: The Journey of An Englishman in Aggieland
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