More than just a game
April 26, 2013
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It was a moment that I hope to wipe clean from my memory someday, but one I’ll never forget. One of those “where were you when…?” type events. As I flipped to CNN, I saw a chilling cloud of smoke rise from streets I knew all too well. Multiple bombs had gone off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Threats of bombings throughout the city were soon reported, sporting events were postponed and normal life in Boston as we knew it came to a screeching halt. Streets that I’d walked through a mere few months ago were bloodsoaked and flooded with paramedics. The city, where cousins, aunts, uncles and brothers of mine lived, was in utter chaos. The marathon quickly took a backseat to the events that were unfolding in the city of Boston, as all concerns turned to the safety and well being of loved ones, rather than who could run 26.2 miles faster.
At that point in time, sports and athletic competition were meaningless. Who could possibly care about the outcome of a silly race when a loved one’s safety was at risk? Whether or not one could shoot a ball into a hoop or hit one out of a park became the most influential thing in the world. As I sat speechless on my California couch, my heart and prayers were with my numerous friends and family members in the Boston area. If the Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox, or whatever Boston team I harbor affiliations for would have ceased to exist on April 15, I wouldn’t have batted an eyelash.
But time rolls forward. The clock ticked on and 48 hours later, sports returned to Boston. On a Wednesday night at the TD Ameritrade Garden, the Bruins took the ice in what would be one of the most memorable moments in Boston sports history. First responders, paramedics and firefighters were in attendance as the Bruins took on the Buffalo Sabres.
As a Boston Strong logo was displayed on the ice, the national anthem played and players and fans alike came together in a show of unity and strength in the wake of the horrible events that had come to pass a mere two days prior. In awe, I again watched from my couch, absorbing the palpable sense of patriotism and unity that was being sent all the way from Beantown to my television set.
In these shining moments, Boston showed how truly meaningful sports can be. While there are undoubtedly times when sports take a backseat to life, Wednesday night’s display was a testament to how unifying and uplifting athletic competition is, not only to a community, but to an entire nation. Seeing firefighters hand in hand with Boston sports fans revitalized my faith not only in Boston as a community, but in America as a nation of resilient people.
As I sat and watched smoke billow from Marathon’s finish line, I felt fear and hopelessness and wondered how people in Boston could carry out their lives normally after such a traumatizing ordeal.
However, as I saw Bostonians embrace each other as the national anthem rang out through the Garden, I couldn’t help but feel immense faith in the Bostonian spirit and that the very raw wounds that were left from days earlier were beginning to heal.
Many said the game against the Sabres helped Boston forget, but I personally would never hope to forget that moment. Although it may have been just a game, and one that the Bruins lost too, it was a powerful experience.
The community with which I have such close ties with was shaken to the core, and while the healing process has just begun in Boston, that shining moment of unity in the Garden is one that I’ll never forget. <<<