Christopher - Concord, Massachusetts
Entered on March 24, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: sports


I believe that life is like tetherball. Ever since I was a child, I loved this sport and to this day I still enjoy smacking a ball tied to a pole. My opponent and I are focusing as hard as we can on hitting a ball flying at us. I jump up and pound the ball back from whence it came. For a brief moment, I bask in the glory of my achievement. My sense of pride quickly deteriorates as I see the ball hurtling at me once again, despite my best efforts to knock it back the other way. I urge my legs to propel me back up, but they ache in protest. This process rapidly repeats until finally I swing and completely miss the ball. The futile aspect of the game never fails to reduce me to a giggling fool rolling on the ground.

Instead of watching in horror as the ball winds closer to the pole, I start to laugh uncontrollably as I hop desperately and swat at the ball. Usually at this point, I end up losing the game. Sometimes, I turn the tables on my opponent in a brilliant comeback. Either way, I never feel utterly defeated and I never give up until the game has finished.

It may be a stretch to consider that life is a game and everything living is a player in this grand sport. It’s even more of a stretch to compare the complex game of life to punching a tethered ball around a pole. Regardless of whether life is a game or not, life consists of one challenge after another. How we lead our lives is the result of how we struggle to overcome these challenges.

Earlier this year, I made a difficult transition from sophomore to junior in high school. I struggled to learn but found myself receiving sub satisfactory grades from classes in which I used to excel. These grades prompted me to panic. I started wondering: How much will my GPA drop? What grade do I need to get on the next test for a good report card? Will I still be able to play sports? Will I get in to a good college? Will I have a good job?

Luckily, this nervous period was brief. I soon realized that I need to relax and take things one step at a time. It occurred to me that beyond school, there will always more challenges. I stopped my constant worrying about the future and concentrated on school. Before the semester ended, my grades were back to normal and school was manageable again.

Just as there will always be another challenge in life, there will always be another match of tetherball. Instead of feeling daunted from knowing that life’s challenges will never end, one should savor the knowledge. It’s exciting that there’s always the next game of tetherball to play. There is always another chance to overcome a challenge, another chance to smack the ball in the air. So when life spirals out of control, or when the ball rapidly winds up the pole, you should never give up. Enjoy tackling the problems presented by life or tetherball regardless of the outcome, and you will find life much more rewarding and pleasant.