the little things: 10 second countdown (corrie farbstein).

Guest post Tuesday, guest post Tuesday!  Oh friends, I have nothing but sparkly kindness to say about today’s writer, Corrie.  She is a friend to all.  She is a creative genius.  And she is one of those glittery, magnetic humans that others are drawn to like white on rice.  So please, take a minute and be captured by her story on a soccer field today.  

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10. 9. 8. 7.

It felt like a movie.

6. 5. 4.

The inevitability of the clock was excruciating.

3. 2. 1….. 

And just like that it was over.

The space between my throat and my chest felt hollow, and a silent scream seemed to inhabit my skin as my mouth dropped and my eyes widened. A sudden sensation of yearning overcame my bones as I slowly put my hands on my head in dismay.

Loss.

People around me gathered their stuff and emptied out of the stands with a resilience I was nowhere near ready to feel. I sat there stunned—unable to cry but fixated on the teary eyed young men in front of me on that field. A slow, prolonged embrace erupted amongst them as the players wiped eyes and wandered over to each other. Some of them just sat. Others sprawled out on the field, covering their faces with their jerseys. The game was a grueling battle; they had fought hard and well, but 3…2…1… their season was over. For Cody, the particular fellow that my heart is tied up with, his entire soccer career was over.

The term feels insufficient, but Cody is my boyfriend—what matters to him matters to me. He has played soccer all his life. Years of pep talks, victories, teammates, the grind of practice after practice, games in the rain, games in deadly heat, losses, the sweat, the tears, the smiles, the passion—these moments; he is entangled in them, they have shaped him. So in that final 10-second countdown, it felt as if these moments were shouting, pleading: “Don’t let me be in vain!”

See, the whole school buzzed with excitement as this season took off, because this year was the year. Westmont Men’s Soccer had struggled during the four years of Cody’s time on the team, but this year felt different. The team practiced well together, and their preseason was victorious. Through hours and hours of practice, they had achieved a cohesive, invigorating team dynamic during games and great hope sizzled in the air each time we gathered in the Santa Barbara sun to cheer them on. No one expected the team to lose in the first round of playoffs. No expected it to be over just.. like.. that.

This moment may sound trivial in relation to the grand scheme of things, but it struck a powerful chord in me. True loss, I began to confront, is unrealized potential. It is hopes and dreams that never come to be, and likely never will. True loss is an irrevocable break up, or divorce—the injury that destroys your dance career and lands you in a cubicle. It doesn’t have a happy ending, and there’s no cherry on top. It is the slow 10-second countdown that ends in… nothing.

My American socialized self loves to indulge in stories of triumph through trial. I love the blood, sweat and tears and I love seeing them be worth it as they culminate into that final redemptive scene. But loss. This kind of loss isn’t that. It is an endless plot that stays cyclically bound to the struggle. It is the excruciating moment of 3..2..1.. over. No happy ending.

Loss.

Where do we find meaning it it? If no moment of restoration and fulfillment ever happens to legitimize the perseverance, was it all still worth it? My gut says yes. What does yours say?

IMG_4264Corrie is a NorCal native, living in Santa Barbara, trying to finish her fifth year of undergrad. She is an ex-dance major at CalArts who never thought academics were her thing, barely having read a book in her life, until she unexpectedly found herself at Westmont College studying (and loving) strange words like rhetoric and pathos as a Communication Studies major. She thinks that God is strange and sublime, that life is corky and raw, and she drinks coffee more than her A.D.D. thinks she should. Graduating is the big plan of this year, and she is enthusiastic/terrified of what comes next.  So, yeah.  Are you not blown away by the delightfully articulate Corrie?  Encourage her below by answering one of the questions she posed, or come up with the perfect enthusiastically terrifying “what comes next” plan for her life.

2 thoughts on “the little things: 10 second countdown (corrie farbstein).

  1. Most of what I used to consider loss I now see as speed bumps usually. We continue on until we can’t because there is no alternative, is there? Still, the speed bumps can sometimes cause crashes, and we do suffer actual loss. Again, we still go on until we can’t. That’s life.

  2. It is true that loss can be unrealized potential. The pain is real. The efforts put into the attempt turn out to be valuable in different ways if we let them. I prefer to see those moments as merciful re-directions to even better things!
    PS… I too grew up in NorCal and went to Westmont College. Treasured my time there! 🙂

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