“We are Boston. We are strong.”
These words have been echoed through the streets of Boston ever since the tragic events at the Boston Marathon on April 15. Words that have never been more true.
In a city founded by patriots and revolutionists, not much can change the spirit of its people. Boston is a proud city — some could even argue too proud — and that cannot be seen more than in its sports.
Following the tragic events, sports became more than just a game for Boston, my hometown. Sports became a healing process and, even more so, a bonding process.
“[Sports in Boston] helped bring us altogether, not necessarily to forget, but to bring us Bostonians closer together as a family,” April Feeney, a Boston area native, said. “Our sports are what we live by and by being at these sporting events we show just how much we love our city and how we are not afraid.”
At the first professional sports game in the city after the events, the Boston Bruins hosted the Buffalo Sabres in a game that would eventually clinch the home team a playoff spot. A pregame ceremony was held that consisted of a tribute video to the marathon victims followed by a tear-jerking national anthem in which the sold out crowd of 17,565 sang America’s song.
Both Feeney and Lieutenant Steven Ford of the Revere, Mass. police department attended that game.
“It showed how much they [victims] are cared for and loved,” Lt. Ford said. “That we are not alone in this and will get through it and be a better country for it.”
At the Red Sox game the Saturday following the capture of the second suspect, another ceremony was held in which first responders were honored. The team stitched out the classic ‘”Red Sox” on the front of their jersey and replaced it with one word — “Boston.”
While Bruins players gave the jerseys right off their backs to first responders and citizens that were part of the events, the Celtics held a ceremony of their own this past Friday during their first home game since the marathon. Doctors, nurses and first responders were recognized as “Heroes among us.”
“Honestly, being a Boston native and growing up in and around Boston I wouldn’t expect anything else from this city and especially from our sports teams,” Feeney said. “Personally it just makes me proud to be a Bostonian.”
President Barack Obama said it best.
“Boston is a tough and resilient town. So are its people,” Obama said.
A game became much more than just a game for Boston. It became a symbol of the inspiration and devotion surrounding the capital and all of Massachusetts itself.