Boston Strong, a Year to Reflect
There are a lot of things about sports that upset or irritate many people. On the professional level, players earn too much money and don’t often seem to appreciate it. And the athletes get special privileges on the high school and college levels. Too many of us seem to take a team’s winning or losing personally, when in reality, it doesn’t mean one thing to us personally. There are strikes and lockouts and holdouts and PED’s and suspensions and lawsuits and arrests and a ball of negative mess that sometimes is overwhelming. But there is also, at times, something pure and right and inspiring about sports.
Monday is the 118th running of the Boston Marathon. It’s also the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing. One of the worst nightmares ever at a sporting event in this country, and yet out of it came a slogan and a sense that our country can and will overcome those that try to cripple us. Wherever you might live in this nation and whatever you might think of the city of Boston, few of us can resist being inspired by the phrase “Boston Strong.” The attack was directed at a northeast city but Boston could be replaced by any city or town in this country. Two maniacs tried to disrupt a national sporting event with bombs, but what they really did, was pull a country together.
No matter what part of this country you come from and no matter which teams are “yours,” and even if you hate the Red Sox or Bruins or Patriots or Celtics, you stood shoulder to shoulder with Bostonians a year ago and said, “no one comes into our town and pushes us around.” It was an act of cowardice by two brothers who did their dirty work and then ran like the criminals they were. During the race aftermath and the following days searching for the bombers, heroes emerged and helped complete strangers get medical assistance, gave tips to the police to help find the brothers and sent prayers from every corner of the country, to help people they didn’t know and would never know. All that mattered was that they were Americans and someone had hurt them.
The fact that the horrific act happened at a sporting event just magnified the fact that sports often brings us together. Runners, who one second were trying to outrace one another to the finish line, in the next forgot there was a finish line and ran to help others who were hurt.
It’s a sad anniversary for many in Boston, especially for the families of the victims, but the race will go on–and it always will. We run a marathon for ourselves or we play on a team for our teammates or we cheer for our home town teams, but when it really matters, we’re all part of the same team and even in tragedy, maybe especially in tragedy, that’s the beauty of what sports can inspire in us all.