Time after Time—Seconds Make All the Difference

If you’ve had a chance to check out our website and browse through our blogs, you’ve read again and again the importance of having accurate, synchronized clocks to keep the correct time. But how important is keeping accurate time, really? Should we care about a few minutes or seconds here or there? Before you jump to the conclusion that precise time is not all that important, below are a few situations in which a few seconds, for better or worse, made all the difference.

1. Catching the $25,000 Flight

We’ve all been there—rushing through a crowded station, or hurrying through airport security, all the while fervently praying that our train or airplane will still be there when we arrive. Think how quickly your anxiety would turn to desperation if the flight you were rushing to catch would determine whether or not you were about to receive a life-changing opportunity. That is exactly what happened to two students who were on their way to present their new online company to the MTV Movers and Changers competition, which would provide the partners with 25,000 dollars to help fund their fledgling business. The students arrived minutes after the gates had closed, and had to talk their way onto the plane. They later arrived at the competition where they took home the big prize. Had they been even a minute or two later, the likelihood that the pilot would have allowed them on the plane seems highly unlikely, and their preparation and hard work would have been wasted.

2. Jerry West Buzzer Beater

Time is of the essence in many professional sports, and a player’s greatest obstacle to winning a game can often be the clock. If a team is down by a few points, they will do their best to draw out the time to give themselves more opportunities to score and catch up. On the other hand, a team who is in the lead will try to protect their victory by running as much time as possible off the clock. Regardless of the situation, the game will inevitably come to an end, and that usually results in one final effort by the losing team to get some last-second points. In the 1970 NBA finals, this exact situation occurred when Jerry West threw up a Hail Mary 60-footer in the final seconds of game 3—and sunk it. Although the Lakers lost in the end, it gave them the opportunity to play in overtime and made for one of the most memorable shots in NBA history. With the future addition of the 3-point line, that same last-second shot today would have been the game winner.

3. College Senior Misses Dream Class

Obviously, not all of us are entrepreneurial innovators or professional athletes. However, any of us who has ever been a college student can relate to this next example. I’m referring to one of the biggest hassles of university life: course registration. Every school does it differently, but the one thing many have in common is that certain popular or required classes get filled up—fast. In one such situation, an Emory University senior strongly desired to enroll in a “Baseball and American Studies” course, one in which she was devastated to find had filled up just minutes after registration had opened. This same situation becomes even more troublesome when a student is not able to enroll in a class that is a pre-requisite to more advanced courses, which could hinder them from progressing through school at their desired pace. It may sound drastic, but not registering for classes at the earliest possible minute can be a terrible inconvenience. The Emory University senior had to re-do her entire schedule, but the situation would have been worse had the missed class been a requirement which impeded her from graduating.

While the above examples may not be every day occurrences, they do provide an insight into just how important time can be, and perhaps awareness about how necessary it is to have correct, accurate clocks. Take a moment to think about your own life, and the deadlines, appointments, travel arrangements, and all other situations that were affected by mere minutes, or even seconds. Hopefully you are beginning to realize that time has more of an effect on our lives than many people realize. So, think accurate time doesn’t matter? Think again.

1. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/738125-top-50-craziest-buzzer-beaters-of-all-time/page/53
2. http://yfsentrepreneur.com/2011/06/02/seconds-away-from-a-missed-opportunity-and-25000-in-startup-funding/
3. http://www.emorywheel.com/detail.php?n=29053