This I Believe

Amy - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on November 23, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: setbacks
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I believe that Time is both an enemy and a savior.

I came to this conclusion after watching from the bench as my high school girls’ soccer team suffered a particularly nasty loss in a district-final match. It seemed surprising that a revelation of this magnitude could surface from something as shallow as a soccer game; however, the game alone did not trigger this moment of enlightenment. This sudden consciousness developed over the four months I spent reflecting on the sidelines, while a knee injury prevented me from playing the field and stranded me in the position of team manager.

Until this point in the season, I never considered time a deceptive force, but rather a reliable and optimistic one. Yet during this game, my perception of time changed. By the 78th minute, the opposing team had scored two goals, which secured them a win unless my team could score two goals in two minutes—an impossible feat.

As the last few seconds drained steadily from the scoreboard, so too the last drops of hope drained from my teammates’ hearts and onto their bodies, moistening their uniforms in the appearance of sweat and tears. When the final buzzer resounded, I could do nothing but watch as one by one my teammates collapsed upon the plush turf in tearful hysteria. Painfully, I recalled how only three hours earlier my team sat together on a bus engaging in some pre-game pep talks, just enjoying each others’ company before heading out to face the opposition. Although I did not know it at the time, I would soon give anything to return to that moment, that unspoiled memory, which promptly disappeared into the depths of time, abandoning my teammates and I in the present to mourn the end of our season.

Instead of blaming this loss on the refs for their poor judgment calls or the opposition for their poor sportsmanship, I choose to blame Time. Time—disregarding my team’s valiant efforts to prevail—hastened onward, stealing seconds from the scoreboard and forcing my team, the refs, and their opponents to make decisions, which eventually lead to their loss. If Time had merely stood still, nothing would have changed. Time is guilty of revealing the consequences of our decisions. For this reason, Time is my enemy.

Nevertheless, only Time allows people to heal. In Time, broken bones mend themselves, ligaments grow stronger, and bruises fade into flesh. Memories blur so that emotions accompanying defeat become less hurtful to remember. In most cases, merciful Time redresses the problems it creates. For this reason, Time is my savior.

So although I want to blame Time for compelling events to unfold and bringing grief upon my teammates and me, I can not do this in all fairness. After all, if Time did not march forward, it would hold my teammates and I captive in that unbearable moment of loss and disbelief; a moment that I can simply hope to forget, in Time.