Boston Strong

by Hal Bent

In light of what happened in Boston on Marathon Monday, and yesterday in Watertown, MA and around Boston, MA with the unprecedented lock-down of the city. In this situation, sports can seem far from a priority in our minds. Stepping into the first person for a moment, the greater Boston area has for almost 40 years been my home. Like everyone else, I spent Monday glued to Twitter, the television news outlets, news sites on the Internet and was just simply shocked by what took place just one block away from where I had worked in Boston for almost ten years.

I spent that day thinking about how I had annually taken a break from work each afternoon of the third Monday in April in Boston to go outside the office, walk across the street, and stand and applaud the many runners crossing the finish line far after the winners on television. I never wanted to see the professional runners winning the race, it was important to see the people who trained on our streets and sidewalks, pushing themselves to run 26.2 grueling miles to raise money for charity, or to prove to themselves that they can do whatever they set their minds to, or simply to cross the finish line because it is there.

Whatever their reasons, I was standing and applauding at the same approximate time in the same approximate place where the first explosive device detonated and hurt so many innocent people for almost ten years. How lucky I feel that I was no longer in the city for Patriots Day, that I was no longer at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, where I was for so many years without incident. Due to circumstances in my life, instead of standing at the finish line as I had for so many years to acknowledge achievement, I was safely away from the city, with my family with me, watching on television and not working that day. 

There are still no answers as I write this, no delusional reason given with one of the suspects dead and another--after being on the run and having escaped police for almost a day--in custody to point our collective fingers at and now wait impatiently for answers to us WHY so much pain was deliberately delivered on a day and event that is entirely about community, togetherness, and accomplishment.  What drives people to hurt strangers in such a manner?  To drop a bag of explosives next to a family with children watching their father complete the Boston Marathon?  No politics, religion, dogma, creed, or philosophy is worth pursuing that causes so much pain for so many.

Because of this tragedy, there are so many families torn asunder, their losses hurting them, the spectators with their horrible pain and wounds suffered by the hundreds and now in the hospitals with these horrific physical wounds. Beyond that, there are so many emotional wounds, so much bewilderment and anger, frustration and fear, confusion and sadness that so many people, not just in Boston but around the world, trying to wrap their heads around this tragedy. Part of dealing with this is simply escape, and for so long that has been part of the need to write, to think about sports to distract from tragedy, as sports played such a huge role after other tragedies. So thank you for indulging me in these thoughts prior to moving on to my escape with thoughts on the Boston Sports scene.