On Patriot’s Day last year, the Red Sox won their game in walkoff fashion courtesy of their new slugging first baseman Mike Napoli, beginning a dramatic trend that would be the trademark of their World Series winning season, but that was not the top story of the day. Later that afternoon, the city of Boston was shaken to its core when two brothers bombed the finish line of the Boston Marathon. They killed three people and injured many more, and they ruined one of the best days of the year to live in Massachusetts. A year later the Marathon is back, and more people are running than ever before. Boston pride was in full force over the last year, and today was about running forward, but never forgetting.
Because of last year’s tragedy, we now have “Boston Strong.” That’s a slogan that isn’t going away. Boston is a city that identifies with its professional sports teams, all four of them, as closely as any city in the country. We used the Red Sox and the Bruins as a rallying cry, bringing people together. The Bruins ended their 2013 campaign a game short of the Stanley Cup, and the Red Sox ended their season with a parade down Boylston Street, just as President Obama had predicted. It wasn’t just the fans that took on the Boston Strong mentality, either. David Ortiz, Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, Andrew Ference, Shawn Thornton, Johnny Boychuk, Claude Julien, Joe Andruzzi, Doc Rivers. I got the impression that the Red Sox and Bruins were playing for Boston as much as their own team achievement. That’s not something you’d see in every city.
The 2013 Boston Marathon was a shock to everyone’s system. A day of celebration, a state holiday, was ruined by a couple of terrorist punks. It’s terrifying to think about. The Bruins played a game at the TD Garden on the Wednesday after Marathon Monday, but it still felt weird. In the grand scheme of things, sports don’t usually matter, but this was one of the times that it did. Tragedy occurred at one of Boston’s great sporting events, and non-sports fans missed out on this great moment where the city showed their spirit on national television. On the Friday of that week, the city was locked down as police pursued the living bomber, making for one of the strangest days I can remember. I live out in the suburbs, and I’ve never been to the Boston Marathon, but Eastern Massachusetts so small that it’s impossible to not know somebody who was connected to the events of that week.
Plenty of better writers and more closely connected sources have written about last year’s Boston Marathon, but I guess the biggest takeaway I’ve had from it all was the way such a tragedy brought on by such evil people could bring a region together the way it did. The rest of the country rallied around Boston, as well. “Sweet Caroline” was played at opposing ballparks, and Stephen Colbert (who it was announced last week will be replacing David Letterman on CBS next year) gave this great heartfelt tribute to the city.
It was time to run again, and an American man won the Boston Marathon for the first time in 1983. Boston showed that it’s as resilient a city as its baseball team and its hockey team. It’s important to keep running, but to never forget what happened in 2013. I’m not very good at writing about serious issues, but this was one I felt I had to write. The aftermath of the Boston Marathon was fresh in my mind when I started this blog a year ago this Saturday. I’m normally sarcastic, and cynical, but while the tragedy of last year was horrible, it helped me realize just how many good people there are in the world as well.