Everybody deals with this sort of senseless violence/tragedy differently. Disbelief, rage, grief, blame, resignation, and all that. Sometimes all mixed up together. Some people will take a break from sports and others will immerse themselves further into it. Last night I couldn't find the words. Today I have to start writing again. So this may help some of you or it may not. But thanks for giving me an opportunity to just... write.
I don't live in the Boston area anymore and I realized the other day that after growing up and living in Plymouth MA for 18 years, I've now lived outside of the area for longer than that. Yet I still say I'm "from the Boston area." I'm a basketball guy and I haven't sat down and watched a full Red Sox game for years, but I still have a faded, battered, fits-perfectly-on-my-head Red Sox hat that I wear often. There's just something about that hat that feels like home to me. Everywhere I travel - be it Europe or the Caribbean or Colorado, people always connect with the hat and give me a smile and a nod and a quick word about "Papi" or comment on the latest state of the team. Instant community.
Boston is home. We aren't defined by Good Will Hunting, but that's part of it. We aren't defined by our accents, but that's part of it. We don't always eat Dunkin Donuts, ... well, maybe we do, but we are so much more. To an outsider, all I can say is that we're sometimes rough around the edges, but if you've got a thick enough skin, you'll see a heart underneath our thick skins and you'll be amazed at the light that shines there.
We celebrate our heroes, but we typically value teamwork more. We appreciate strength, speed, and skill, but we put just as much (if not more) value on hard work and dedication. So it is appropriate that we are now cheering on the true, real life heroes who are the men and women that quietly go about their jobs every day - serving, protecting, assisting, and caring for those in need - especially on days like yesterday.
I can't help but reflect that the narrative of this Knicks - Celtics series just got turned on its head. A day or two ago we were gearing up for a few weeks of "Melo and the Knicks hate the Celtics" stories. I think that's done now. There's no time for basketball "hate" right now. How can anyone involved with New York City of all places, not feel anything but sympathy and empathy for the city of Boston right now? Just like our hearts ached on 9/11 and we wished there was something we could do to help, they are feeling that for us right now. We have our fun New York vs. Boston rivalries, but at the end of the day we are all brothers and sisters and there's no room for anything but love there.
On a similar note, I was going to write a long article about my somewhat conflicted feelings about Kobe Bryant. I'm not going to do that now, but the short version is this. He'll be missed. I don't really like the guy and I enjoy seeing him lose basketball games, but I respect him and I never want to see anyone injured - especially not in those circumstances. I wish him a speedy recovery and a long career after he heals.
So where do we go from here? How do we move on and heal? I don't know really. There's no script and there's no formula that works perfectly for everyone. I just hope that you feel comfortable and supported in this community.
Most of you know that I'm a devout Christian. I don't use this site to prosthelytize but it is hard to miss the influence it has on how I run this site. So please understand, if I or someone of the staff says that we are "praying" for those impacted by this, there's no intention to offend or alienate. Again, everyone is encouraged and welcome to deal with these events however you want (within the confines of the "always treat each other with respect" rule). It is my hope and prayer that we can knit together closer as a community and rise above together.
I have no doubt that we will rise. That is what we do. We may have never seen circumstances quite like this in the past, but we've taken every hit and moved on stronger than we were before. Maybe that's why we've developed that thick skin over time. But I know your heart because it is just like mine. I am a Celtic. We are Boston.