I am what I alternately refer to as a displaced Boston Bruins fan or a member of Bruins Nation Southeast, but though I live a thousand miles south of the Hub, my heart still breaks for the victims of yesterday’s terrible bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
I’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying Patriot’s Day in Boston, but I’ve heard it’s a ton of fun. It’s a school holiday. The Boston Red Sox play an early game, people run the Boston Marathon and then the Bruins were scheduled to play later that day. Thank goodness the game was rescheduled. It’s going to be hard to reschedule, since the Bruins play literally every other day between now and April 28 and the NHL forbids teams from playing three days in a row. Either they’ll need to make an exception or they’ll need to put this game on or after April 28, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that, just hours after a gathering of innocent people was violated by death and destruction, the right step was taken. It would’ve been a shame if the league allowed the game to continue.
The players were already starting to arrive before they were told to go home. Andrew Ference had trouble getting in touch with his two daughters, who were down around the bombing site, though he eventually got to them via FaceTime. Later on, he had to explain to those two little girls that some people have malice in their hearts, but for every bad person out there, there are hundreds of good ones. It’s the same advice Mr. Rogers got from his mother when he was little and saw bad things on the news. She said to look for the helpers. That’s good advice–look for the helpers: the runners who, after running for 26.2 miles, went back and helped people. The on- and off-duty Boston police who went in and did their jobs. The firefighters. The doctors and nurses. The people from all walks of life who offered food, a place to sleep, phone charging and wi-fi so frightened people could get in touch with their families.
I’m from a city where this form of terror has happened before. I was very young at the time and out of town visiting family when Eric Rudolph bombed Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta during the 1996 Olympics. Even though my memories are hazy, I distinctly remember hearing two people had died and my parents trying to explain it in an age-appropriate way. This tragedy was the worst way to cap off what was otherwise a fun event that put Atlanta on the map as an international city. In fact, there’s a statue in the park bearing the imprint of a nail that was in the bomb’s shrapnel.
The shows of support for Boston that have been pouring in since the explosions are all wonderful to see. The Chicago Tribunesports page ran a huge graphic that said “We are the Chicago [insert Boston team name here]” for every pro team in the city, as pictured above. A building in New York City projected inspirational quotes on the wall. In Atlanta, runners gathered at a running store early this morning–the store usually opens at 10 a.m.–for a moment of silence and a run.
Even Boston’s archrivals showed support–the Montreal Canadiens held a solemn moment of silence before last night’s game. The arena was darkened, save for a few necessary lights, and the fans of the team that usually hates the Bruins’ guts put aside the rivalry and focused on humanity. Similar tributes were given at the Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators games and were much appreciated. Massachusetts native Keith Yandle wrote a message of support on his skate.
The Bruins are still scheduled to play tomorrow at TD Garden. At that time, the team that also honored the heroes of the Newtown tragedy will find a heartfelt, respectful way to pay their respects for a terrible event that happened even closer to home. Sports are one of many ways that people heal after tragedies. Consider how sports helped people in the aftermath of 9/11. When the Bruins take the ice again, they’ll help the city heal too.
If you are able, consider donating blood–in a month or so. The area Red Cross reported having enough to get on with yesterday, but I hear blood has a shelf life of about 42 days. So, there may be a need for donations later. If you are not able to donate blood, consider donating money to the Red Cross. Most of all, just make sure that the people you care about know that you care about them.