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His Gift Changed Everything

Olivia Bancel, a member of the LOG OFF Writers Group, shares how the gift of a small watch made a positive, lasting impact.

The summer of 2014 was one of the best summers of my life. I was fresh out of fourth grade, and the World Cup was taking place in Rio. Every night my dad and I would sit by the TV as we would bet on which team we thought would win.

One day that summer, my dad came home and told me he had a surprise for me as he hid something behind his back with a smile on his face. With excitement rushing through my veins, my dad revealed his gift to me. Lying in the palm of his hand was a bright green Swatch watch - my favorite color. As I looked closer, I could see that there was a soccer net and a soccer ball on the face of the watch, and it read “FIFA World Cup 2014.” Jumping up and down with joy, my dad delicately wrapped the green soccer watch around my right wrist. I stared at it in amazement. Suddenly, I didn’t feel like I was ten anymore: I truly felt like a big girl.

Throughout the rest of the summer, my watch became a part of me, something I never took off.

Since that summer so many years ago, I’ve gone through four other Swatch watches. From having some of the designs on the bands fade to having others cracked, you could say I wore each watch until I couldn’t possibly wear it anymore. I could never be spotted without my bright Swatch around my wrist. No matter the occasion - weddings, nights out, proms - my watch was always wrapped around my wrist (also since over the years I grew a very bright watch tan and it was visible from a mile away, so I kind of had to wear my watch everywhere!)

Over the years, I also began to get very good at reading watches. Going from numbers along the side of the watch indicating each hour to no numbers at all was my proudest accomplishment and flex of all time.

Something I never realized was just how much my watch helped me be on my phone less. Because I always had my watch wrapped around my wrist, my phone was rarely needed, which, over time, helped me not feel attached to my phone.

Earlier this week my fourth Swatch broke. Not to sound dramatic or anything, but I was devastated. Because there aren’t many Swatch stores around anymore, I haven’t purchased my fifth Swatch yet. So, throughout this week, not only have I had to cover up my watch tan with many bracelets to avoid scaring others around me, but I’ve had to rely on my phone to check the time as well.

Although it might not seem like a big deal, not having a watch I could use to calculate the time caused my screentime to double this week. While checking the time, I would suddenly feel as though I had other things to check on my phone as well; as a result, I spent more time scrolling than I originally anticipated.

This week, I’m planning on finally getting my watch back where it belongs. Not only am I excited because of the strong emotional connection I have with my watch, but I’m also looking forward to it because I know I won’t be going on my phone as often.

Little did my dad know all those years ago how much getting that World Cup watch would mean to me today. This summer, as we watch the Euro Cup together, sitting side by side on my couch betting on what team will win like we always do, I’ll make sure to look down at my new watch when checking the time, allowing me to continue being present with my dad and not getting lost in my phone.

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Photo by Vitae London on Unsplash