I'm a believer that sports are more than just fun and games on a regular basis. Athletes learn many life lessons through sports and develop life long friendships. Many of the people I consider my closest friends are former teammates from my college cross country team. Sports also provide an escape during times of trouble, both on an individual and mass scale.
On Monday, cowardly individuals attacked sports, bombing one of the world's premier marathons. The Boston Marathon is more than a race. It's a feat that people in every walk of life strive for. It's an event completed by elite runners as well as those whose goal is just to finish. Many were unable to achieve their goal on Monday.
If you take a moment to look back at some of the worst moments in history, sports have served as a symbol of America's ability to bounce back. I have an image etched in my head from the first weekend of football following the September 11th attacks, where two members of the Cleveland Browns run out of the tunnell holding an American flag. I remember President Bush firing a strike in New York City during the 2001 World Series. The latest example came at TD BankNorth Garden in Boston Wednesday night, when nearly 20,000 hockey fans sang the national anthem as one. It defies the hope of our enemies that we will be brought down, instead choosing to stand tall in the face of adversity. Baseball teams everywhere honored Boston by playing Sweet Caroline, even the arch rival New York Yankees.
Wednesday night's moment in Boston at the hockey game saw tears shed throughout the arena and gripped whoever may have been watching on television. But they were different tears than those that were shed on Monday. The tears and pain and fear that showered the nation on Monday had become tears of hope brought on by the unity of a city at one of its worst moments.
So as the Celtics open their playoff series, as the Bruins make a late season push, and as the Red Sox put up an early fight in the American League East, these teams play for more than just wins, losses, money and pride. They play for a city that is getting up and brushing itself off. They play to put smiles on the faces of fans and citizens in search of an escape, and chances are a little piece of you is cheering for them, too.