Every Choice Matters | Teen Ink

Every Choice Matters

December 6, 2021
By jonathanlee124 BRONZE, Irvine, California
jonathanlee124 BRONZE, Irvine, California
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

   One day I was at home with nothing particular to do so I decided to turn on the TV. The then San Diego Chargers happened to be playing the Detroit Lions. At the time, I wasn’t really into football at all. However, the seemingly down and out Chargers made a miraculous comeback to win!  It was the most exciting game I had ever watched. Now years later, that simple decision of turning on the TV created a passion in sports and a lifelong Charger fan.  

   Ever since that game, the seasons of the year are marked by sports teams that I’ve played on and my Sundays in the fall are devoted to watching my Chargers play - hopefully triumphantly. I’ve watched every Chargers game, every football draft and stack my fantasy football teams with more Chargers players than most.  Sports have become such a part of my life that I can’t imagine a weekday without a practice or a game or missing a Chargers game on a fall Sunday.  But what if I had never turned on the TV that day?  Would I still have the same passion for sports?  Would I still be that big of a Chargers fan today?

   How different would the world be if one seemingly trivial choice never happened? One would think it depends on how significant that event was. A decision a world leader has to make on whether to go to war seems like it would have a much more bigger impact than a decision on what a person decides to have for lunch. However, even the most insignificant choices can have major effects, even altering the course of history.

   Could you ever believe that mold changed the world? In August 1928, Alexander Fleming left behind several culture plates containing the bacteria Staphylococcus before leaving on vacation. When he came back a month later, Fleming found that one of the culture plates had been accidentally left with an open lid and contaminated with a mold called penicillium. When Fleming took a close look at the contaminated plate, he found that the mold prevented the growth of bacteria. The bacteria grew away from the mold instead of around it. This meant that the mold killed the bacteria and Fleming made the revolutionary discovery of the first antibiotic which we all know as penicillin. (Britannica) Finally, we had something that could cure infectious diseases and it led to millions of lives being saved. One of the greatest medical advancements in history all happened due to a simple accident in a lab.

   This is known as the butterfly effect in which small changes can lead to effects that are momentous. One of the most important pioneers of the butterfly effect is mathematician and meteorologist Edward Lorenz.  His work on weather prediction laid the foundation for this theory in 1961. Lorenz described how something as small as a butterfly flapping its wings at a certain time and location could subsequently lead to major weather changes in a completely different part of the world. (Britannica) Since there are an infinite number of small events happening around the world that contribute to weather, it is nearly impossible to predict it and forecasts are often wrong.  

   Instances of the butterfly effect that have changed the world have started with the most unassuming things like mold in the case of medicine and duct tape for American history.  On June 17, 1972, Frank Wills was working as a security guard at the Watergate complex in Washington D.C. when he noticed a piece of duct tape on the door of a basement. Wills didn’t think much of it at first, removed the tape, and continued on.  However, the next time he walked by, he noticed that there was more duct tape and it prevented the door from locking. Suspicions raised, Wills immediately called the police. When they arrived, the complex was locked down and each office was searched until they came across five men in the Democratic National Committee offices. (Washington Post) This is what led to the Watergate scandal and the resignation of president Richard Nixon in 1974 altering American history forever. What would have happened if Wills never noticed the duct tape or decided to ignore it? What if Nixon had gotten away with the Watergate break-ins and never had resigned? 

   If you look back in history, there are many other events such as this that could have had a totally different outcome if another event went the other way. This does not have to be limited to significant historical events, but small events can also lead to major changes in a person’s life. While turning on the TV and watching the Chargers game may have seemed like a small decision at the time, it ended up making a huge impact in my life.  Through sports, I’ve learned the value of teamwork, commitment, perseverance and friendship. I discovered a passion for sports and the Chargers that will last a lifetime.

   There are many decisions that a person makes every day that if another choice was made that person may be completely different. It’s our choices that make each of us unique. While those choices may seem small at the moment, over time the significance of each of them greatly increases whether you see the impact or not. This is why it is important to live life with intention as the choices you make dictate the life you live.  Every choice matters.

The author's comments:

 This piece shows how I developed my passion for sports.

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