Sunday, April 21, 2013


A Heartfelt Thank You to the Great American Sports Community

Thank you for showing your support for and solidarity with the people of Boston. Thank you for the recognition of our first responders, the police and firefighters, the medical workers and soldiers, and especially the civilians. They were all "Boston's Finest" that day, risking their lives without hesitation, literally hopping barricades and jumping into the bomb sites to give aid and comfort to the victims. Law enforcement agencies worked together, tirelessly for four days, in pursuit of the cowards who perpetrated this unthinkable act of violence and terror. We all honor the men and women of the Boston Police Dept., the Massachusetts State police, other local agencies, the FBI and the Dept. of Homeland Security. We honor Officer Sean Casey, who gave his life while alerting others to the whereabouts of the bombers. We honor the officers injured in the pursuit to apprehend them. And we honor the victims and the survivors of the blasts. We appreciate you, players and fans around the country, for helping us to honor all these fine Bostonians. 

The past week has been a challenging time for Bostonians, all Bostonians. For those who live in town, those who live on the shores both north and south, in the suburbs to the west, on the Cape extending into the ocean to the east. And those of us who once lived there but because life happens we have moved away. Though we may now live in Ohio or California, or even overseas, we are Bostonians forever. We will always call Boston our hometown. You can't shake it. You couldn't deny it even if you wanted to. Boston is in our hearts. Boston is in our blood. Boston is in our souls.

Yes, this week was trying. A time of constant fear, anger, frustration. But it was also a time to remember we are not alone. A time to remember we are a part of the greatest community in the world. We are Bostonians. We are New Englanders. WE ARE AMERICANS. We are all in this together. And nowhere was that so evident as it was this week on the green diamonds, the shiny hardwood floors, and the sparkling ice rinks of America's great sports teams. Players and fans alike showed their support. Fans waving signs with messages of hope and love. Teams observing a moment of silence before tip-off, playing the Red Sox anthem Sweet Caroline over the loudspeakers, players raising hockey sticks and parading around the ice in salute to the fans and the people of Boston. 

To say Boston is a sports town is understating the obvious. While most sports fans are supportive, passionate, even exuberant about their favorite teams, Boston fans leave those characterizations behind, in the dust. Boston fans put the fan in fanatical. We are loyal and passionate and all that sports fans around the world are. But we are more than that. We live and die with our teams. We cheer. We swear. You think our drivers are crazy? Well, you haven't seen "Boston crazy" until you've experienced a game surrounded by Boston sports fans. We are the penultimate of devoted. We may not wear it well but we have the patience of Job. We wait, perhaps not so calmly (cough, cough), with great anticipation through heartbreak after heartbreak for eighty-six years to win the World Series. Yet every year, after each heartbreak, we say next year. Next year will be our time.

Well, next year, on the third Monday of April, Massachusetts will once again celebrate Patriots Day. We will once again honor those who fought in the Battles at Lexington and Concord. And we will honor those who fought back in the attack on Boylston Street, the bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. We will honor the first responders. We will recognize the first-aid teams and the civilians who overcame witnessing the unthinkable and helped their fellow Bostonians. We will hold a moment of silence and reflection for those killed. Perhaps there will be prayers. And then we will cheer, raucously, as Boston fans do, 
for the survivors. We will cheer for their strength, their will to survive, their success at 
overcoming the adversity and the challenges none ever expected to experience on that 
bright, beautiful Monday afternoon of Patriots Day, Marathon Day, of 2013. 

Next year, things will be different. Will feel different. Along with the assurance and comfort of visible and hidden signs of beefed-up security, there will be an undercurrent of fear, of uncertainty. But despite all that there will be the runners and volunteers. And there will be the fans. Hundreds of thousands of fans. Because we are Boston sports fans. 

We endure. 
We overcome. 
We are strong. 

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