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Six Hours and Counting

Yesterday, I woke up at 6am with a neon sign flashing "Final! Final! Final!" in my brain. Four hours of sleep yet there was no possible way I could close my eyes again.

Instead, here is how I distracted myself (note that not all of these are actual distractions):

Spilled ground coffee all over the counter

Tried to write a post on MLS

Read the football pages online

Crawled under the covers and hid from the mean columnists who have obviously never seen our defense

Emerged to laugh at MON calling out Arsene for being a hypocrite

Gave SAF a lecture for endlessly yapping about how he is not going to start Mr. Potato Head when he is clearly just a ridiculous attention seeker

Spent some time with the London A-Z and the Underground plan-your-route function, in which I did not at any point look at Wembley

Fell down the stairs

On the way to the underground, found a sign pointing me toward Wembley. Thoughts suddenly consumed by the who-will-start-Emile-or-John question.

Got shut in a train door.

Sat and silently mocked the outfits of the locals passing the Northfields tube stop. Except for the 80% dressed better than me due to the fact that none of my clothing had finished drying.

Had a cuppa and watch hockey highlights (managing not to yell Ruutu! and scare new friends)

Learned that Brentford match has been called off due to a five minute downpour causing some sort of freakish flash flood denying me the possibility to watch the Bees and see a ground with a pub in every corner.

Watched first half of Italy v Scotland in 6 Nations rugby. Rather than paying attention to rules, I mocked the hair of the Italians. Mocking helps me cope.

Questioned about the reason I am an Aston Villa fan. Mouth automatically responds colors; stomach automatically responds with twisting and turning.

After a short walk, arrive at a pub just down the street from my flat, even though it had taken two undergrounds to get to Northfields. At least London geography is distracting.

Handed a Timothy Taylor, which is certainly the best beer I've had in England. Thus begins the best way of distracting myself from the voices in my head.

England v Ireland 6 Nations rugby begins. Because their hair is not quite as memorable, am forced to actually learn about the game.

Realize that it is not a good idea to cheer loudly for Ireland in a pub full of English supporters. Luckily politeness prevents them from doing anything except saying "No."

Try to remember why I am an Ireland fan, which leads me to friend Richard, which of course leads me to Richard Dunne, and then evil brain replays my dream in which he heads the ball, falls down and breaks his back.

Get more Timothy Taylor.

After two pints, the rugby starts making sense. After three, start formulating a plan in which football clubs hoist their players into the air to help them head the ball.

Not sure why I had pints four and five except it was fun, Ireland won, and I had to drink away the image of Aaron Ramsey's twisted leg and Ryan Shawcross's tears.

At some point, start wearing Villa scarf, but it is ok because have completely forgotten that there is an important match the next day.

Until I see Shrek-man's electrolyte replacing commercial and feel a rush of hatred. Start to wonder if there is a man we can sacrifice for the greater good until I realize England would implode if their striker was taken from them.

Finally head home, believing it's at least 11:30 when really no, it's not even ten.

Twitter reminds me that there is a match on. Spend 30 minutes opening the links in AVFC Central's Carling Cup post.

Realize that no matter what, at least we still have Ash and his ball.

This brings me comfort for about three minutes, after which I decide to call my co-author in a panic.

When he does not answer, I decide that for some reason everyone I've ever met should get phone calls, emails and direct messages.

Finally crash out at midnight.

Wake up at 2am with pounding headache and am forced to decipher the medications of the English. After downing aspirin, I remember WEMBLEY and spend 45 minutes trying to forget about it again.

And now we're here, on the day, and recounting my yesterday has distracted me plenty. However now it is time to go be clean, after which I will put on my Agbonlahor jersey, add my Villa windbreaker to keep off the pissing rain, tie on my scarf, and head out toward Wembley. I'm still hoping I can find a magical ticket and make my way inside, but if not I'll be watching from a nearby pub.

Here's to lifting a trophy today!