Originally posted on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 4/16/13
It’s still somewhat difficult to process what happened yesterday in the Boston marathon and believe it as real. What was most shocking about it was the unexpected nature of the attack, the people there were supposed to be safe, out of harm’s way. You do not expect a marathon to be targeted that way but it was and whether this act was done by a domestic or foreign person or group, it will no doubt scar those involved for life. Personally, despite the fact I have no ancestry or heritage in Boston, it has long been my favorite American city because I follow all the sports teams there, it felt like an attack on my second home. Even though my ties to the city are tenuous at best and I am still yet to visit there, I still feel connected to the place. But as is always the case in an event like this the best way for people to heal and move on is through sports. Remember back to 2001 when the Patriots became the Cinderella team of the NFL, their Super Bowl run had many neutrals jumping on their bandwagon. It seemed only fitting a team of Patriots would come through at a time when patriotism was necessary in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. Regardless of what you think of the organization now, there is no doubt that story helped the nation out in its own unique way. In 2006, the entire country, especially New Orleans, got hooked on the Saints return to the Super Dome after Hurricane Katrina had decimated so much of the city. The new faces, new attitude and new success helped so many people out as it gave locals who were still struggling to rebuild something to enjoy and an escape from their hardship, even if it was just temporary. That goodwill continued right through until their Super Bowl win in 2009 as many people felt it would only be fair for that city to have a champion to cheer for. January 2011 saw my city of Brisbane get hammered by floods in what will go down as possibly the most surreal experience of my life. I helped clear one of my oldest friend’s house as the water rose closer inch by inch. In a way, she got lucky as only part of her house needed rebuilding while some people lost their homes and businesses. Despite all of the hardships people endured, the sports-mad Queenslanders had local teams to rally behind and help them out when they needed cheering up. The A-League team, Brisbane Roar were in the middle of a run that would eventually culminate with them winning one of the greatest finals you will ever see just two months after the floods. Meanwhile, the Queensland Reds, who competed in the rugby union competition won their championship in June of that year as well. Both of these teams provided a welcome distraction to the effected people of Brisbane who were rebuilding their lives. What helped was the fact both championships were won at Suncorp Stadium, a building that had been damaged by the floods, taking it out of action temporarily. While it may only have been a temporary distraction, being able to get behind a sports team and having something to cheer for is just what some people need at a time like this as they are looking for help to get through this tragedy. Even on a personal level, sport has been able to help me through some of the tough times I have experienced. Like many people, I did not have the easiest time in high-school, even though I was more brain than brawn (though neither was particularly strong), sport was still a great outlet for me whether it was following it as a distraction or using it as a social tool to make friends. Following sport became a solitude when real-world crap really seemed to not be going my way, even something as simple as winning a game of Madden or FIFA on the PlayStation was usually enough to cheer me up. It was also a great social tool as the people I am still in contact with since graduation are the friendships I have made through mutual interests in sports such as football, NFL and ice hockey and those are (hopefully) friendships for life. When my grandmother died in mid-January 2012, I was rather upset. The first game after her funeral was the Patriots-Ravens AFC Championship which, aside from being an excellent game, was a great outlet for me. I still remember thinking after Cundiff missed that field goal that whether it was Myra Kraft or my Nan, something special was going on. While they fell short in the Super Bowl, that game alone was a great help as it cheered me up to no end even though some may see it as ‘just a game’. It is a great time to be a sports fan in Boston, while everyone should take the time to grieve for those who were killed in the attack, especially if they knew them directly, sports will be a great way to help them move on from this tragedy. For some it is hard to think of moving on at all but when the time comes, the teams they knew from before will still be there and be able to help. Whether it is the Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox or even the Patriots, the people of Boston will have something to cheer for no matter what and it will give them some enjoyment to put a smile back on their faces. If there are any doubts, take it from someone who has experienced it first hand, sports can be the best medicine out there.
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