For the love of Boston

I wanted to write something last night. But I couldn’t. Like many of you, I went through a series of emotions ranging from heartbreak to anger to numbness. Instead, I waited until my kids were in bed, sobbed over the footage on CBC, and then listened to Vin Scully because baseball seemed like the only thing that made sense at that moment. Sports helping us heal: yes, we’ve been here before.

I knew one person who participated in Monday’s Boston Marathon. Some of us with even stronger ties to the city were deeply upset and concerned about family members down there. The person I know is OK. A lot of people are not.

This wasn’t the post about Boston I wanted to write. You see, I had a chance to visit Boston for the very first time last month, thanks to a work-related conference. The city left a lasting impression with me. My disdain for the Red Sox may be well documented here, but in the two nights I stayed in Boston in a quaint hotel on Newbury Street, not far from where Monday’s tragedy took place, I became a huge fan. I love the people, its passion for its sports teams, every grungy alley and gorgeous brownstone. I snagged a terrific seat for the Celtics game that week when the Raptors were in town. 10 rows from courtside. Unbelievable. I have a pile of pictures I’ve been meaning to share on this site, of the game, of Kevin Garnett’s massive frame, of Fenway and the photo of Old Hoss Radbourne I found at this great sports bar on Boylston Street. But life happened, and now this.

I’m not from Massachusetts, not a Red Sox fan, not even American, so I feel a bit like I’m talking out of my ass. But I am a runner, and I am friends with some wonderful Americans (including these Ladies… ), so Monday’s events nevertheless left me shaken and heartbroken. I never once felt uneasy walking through Boston’s downtown core. Maybe it was the friendliness of its people or how it spoke to my Irish heritage, but the city really felt like home. The morning I arrived I took the wrong Green Line train and got lost, but I never once felt uncomfortable. I walked by Copley Square after the basketball game completely confident that nothing bad would happen to me, which I’m sure was the same feeling those runners and spectators and volunteers had yesterday.

So I promise that sometime soon, I will post those pictures. We need to remember why Boston is such a damn fine town, and how it will continue to be. And I will come back to Copley Square, and I’ll bring my kids. And I will continue to run, just like so many did yesterday and today in solidarity. And I will try not to be so angry about what happened, because in a time of need a city wrapped its caring arms around frightened and wounded strangers. You can’t stay angry when there is love.

Phoenix Coyotes Keith Yandle

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