When the innocence is lost

Zachary Gray Sports Editor

The truth is I didn’t want to write this column. Not after the tragic events that took place on Monday, April 15, 2013. Every news outlet had continuous coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings, showing the footage on repeat and sharing the photos of chaos. It’s hard to avoid it, especially when the Marathon route practically goes through campus.

I had another piece written, but it just didn’t feel appropriate to publish a column not relating to what happened on Marathon Monday. As the Sports Editor of “The 1851 Chronicle,” I have an obligation to cover the most important, interesting, and, in this case unfortunately, tragic events. But a part of me feels as if I’m not fulfilling my expectations, as I don’t want to write. I don’t want to believe this happened.
It’s not as if violent acts haven’t occurred in previous sporting events. During the 1972 Olympic games in Munich, Black September, a Palestinian militant group, killed 11 athletes of the Israeli team in a 16-hour hostage crisis. Competition at the Olympic Stadium was suspended afterwards.

At the 1996 Games in Atlanta, a bomb was planted at the Centennial Olympic Park. The explosion killed two people and injured more than 100.

Maybe I’m shaken up because Boston, the city I call home, was affected by this disgusting act. Maybe it’s the personal stories I constantly hear. Maybe it’s because I have several friends who live in Boston. Maybe it’s because my brother left the finish line
only 15 minutes before the explosion.

The 117th running of the Boston Marathon started as an ordinary spring day. There was no reason to believe anything bad would happen. For the runners the goal was to finish, as fatigue and dehydration were the threats. For the spectators, the goal was to have a great time. The worst imaginable situation for those watching would have been a hangover by early afternoon. At 2:50 p.m. on hour four of the race, the goals became universal: safety and survival.

Sports have the power to be an escape from work, stress, conflict, and all of the terrible happenings in life. To many people, sports are a religion, as the stadium serves as its church. To simply put it, sports are meant to be a safe haven. If sports are the religion, then Marathon Monday is the holy holiday (second behind the Super Bowl, of course). But what happens when the church is attacked, where do we go? What do we do in the midst of chaos? Writing this column has been one of the harder things I’ve done with “The 1851 Chronicle.” The worst stories I should write should focus on losing games, not losing lives.

The most prominent image I’ll remember from April 15, 2013 won’t be the runners, college students, or festivities of Marathon Monday. It’ll be the man with both his legs blown off being transported from the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon.

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