It was an ordinary Monday, but in the historic city of Boston, this Monday was special.
It was Patriots’ Day, a civic holiday in Massachusetts and Maine that commemorates the first battles of the Revolutionary War. Patriots’ Day in Boston has long been associated with two things—a special, morning baseball game by the Red Sox at Fenway Park and, of course, the Boston Marathon.
The joy of the marathon, the triumph of human achievement, an event in which not just world-class athletes, but ordinary men and women can test their resolve and endurance, was shattered on Monday afternoon when two explosive devices detonated near the finish line of the race in downtown Boston.
Three people are dead, including—according to multiple reports—an 8-year-old boy. At least 140 people are being treated at eight hospitals in the Boston area; at least 17 of those are in critical condition.
I’ve spent most of my adult life telling the stories of events, happy and tragic, and an event such as what happened in Boston on Monday brings me back to one simple question: Why?
If you’re trying to make a political point, why make it that way? Since April 15 is also tax-deadline day it has crossed my mind more than once since the incident—was this someone’s demented way of protesting taxes?
If it was just terrorism for terror’s sake, well, mission accomplished.
Sports was a first-love kind of thing for me and when it became readily apparent at a relatively early age that I had lost the genetics lottery and would never be one of those guys on the front of the bubble-gum cards, instead I turned my attention to learning about the games, writing about the games.
I got the lucky break of being able to do it as a profession. Somewhere down the line, I did what people do—I got ambitious. I crossed the line from sportswriter to news writer, but it was never a good fit.
There were way too many stories such as people setting off bombs in public places for my taste. I missed the games.
A year or so ago, I defied conventional wisdom, left my career behind and rededicated myself to my first love, sports. Events such as those that took place in Boston on Monday afternoon serve as a sober reminder of why.
Sportswriters and commentators throw around words and phrases such as “warrior” or “life or death” not because we mean them literally, but instead because we don’t.
There’s nothing “life or death” about a basketball game between two professional teams. One wins, one loses and life goes on.
Not long ago I wrote a piece detailing the reasons why New York Yankee fans hate the Boston Red Sox. I’ve used the phrase “I hate Boston,” on a number of occasions.
But here’s the thing: I don’t hate Boston. I root against sports teams that happen to call Boston home—big, big difference.
And on this day after terror struck the world of sports, I certainly don’t hate Boston.
I am grieving with the city, though.