‘Boston Strong’ embodies the power of sports

Sports has the unique ability to bring people together from all different backgrounds for a common cause as we’ve seen following tragedies in the United States, such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. This was demonstrated again on the days following the bombings last year during the Boston Marathon, one of the premier running events in the country.

Carmen Garcia, a long distance runner who would like to run in the Boston Marathon one day, said, “It is definitely more prestigious than other marathons because you have to qualify. The people who run the Boston Marathon are better than just your average runners.”

On April 15, 2013, two bombs went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, causing mass panic, not only in the city of Boston, but throughout the entire nation. Three people lost their lives in the bombings and over 260 people were injured.

As the nation learned about the lives lost and the damage the bombs caused, they also learned about acts of heroism from Bostonians.

Instead of cowering in fear, they fought for what they believed in.

On the one year anniversary of the bombings, Vice President Joe Biden spoke at a Boston Marathon tribute and said to survivors, “You’re living proof that America can never, never be defeated. They try to make America afraid so we will change our ways. It infuriates them that we refuse to change.”

While the bombings impacted everyone deeply, it was clear that the city of Boston was not going to give into fear.

“It takes the sum of the individuals to make a team,” said Lauren Kennedy, California Lutheran University assistant track and field coach. “Boston’s sports teams certainly showed that in the upcoming months.”

The first team to play in Boston after the bombings was the Boston Bruins on April 18, 2013, three days after the tragedies. That night in front of a sold out crowd, Rene Rancourt sang the national anthem just like he does at every Bruins home game. However, this time, he was joined by 17,000 fans as they sang it together. This unplanned act showed not only the city of Boston, but the nation as a whole, that no matter their age, race or gender, they were going to get through this tragedy together.

When the Red Sox hosted their first game back at Fenway Park after the bombings, a pre-game ceremony remembered those who had lost their lives and thanked those who helped save countless others through their actions.

The Red Sox asked David Ortiz, who is widely considered the face of Boston, to give a speech. He said exactly what everybody was thinking, “This is our f****** city and nobody is going to dictate our freedom.”

When a community unites around a team and cheers for a common cause, amazing occurrences can happen. For the Red Sox, that summer was filled with first pitches and special honorings of those who survived the attacks and those who were the first responders. It’s no coincidence that the Bruins made it to the Stanley Cup Finals and the Red Sox won the World Series. They are both great teams, fueled by the love and compassion the people in Boston have for one another.

That is the power of community. That is the power of being Boston strong.


Joshua Dwyer
Staff Writer
Published April 23, 2014