Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City

Ain’t no love in the heart of the city.” Dzhokar Tsarnaev texted these words the day he and his brother planted bombs near the finish of the Boston Marathon. Seldom have more untrue words been written. On a normal day, Boston Marathon evokes many emotions, love at the top of the list. Love of sport, love of challenge, love of family, love of significant others, love of the city, love of blood, sweat, and tears, and the list goes on.

It comes from those born and raised in Boston to the numerous transplants who decide to stick around for a year or twenty, to the people like me, who lived there temporarily….in my case, only two too short years. While I lived in Boston, Patriot’s Day was hands down my favorite day of the year. It’s hard not to get swept up in the excitement of your city hosting one of the world’s premier sporting events and lining the course to cheer on the participants. This year, one of my Kingdom Aqua-man buddies was running and had a commercial detailing his story… I was so excited and proud for Terry and it made me miss Boston and my friends there more than ever.

Even after moving back to Texas, my heart leaps in excitement each Patriot’s Day and this year was no exception. I spent the day wondering from afar how all of my friends were doing and what stories would come from the day and missing being involved in the excitement. Who would PR? Who would finish? Who would have an inspirational story to tell? Around 2:15 pm central time, I took a break from work to check in on Facebook and see who had finished and how things were shaping up. That’s when I saw it….a simple post from a Texas friend: “oh no Boston.” My heart went cold as I began searching the Internet expecting the worst, but hoping for the best. News of the explosions was starting to make the news bit by bit. It is a sign of the times when the most up to date information you can get about breaking news might come from Twitter or Facebook. As the news and day unfolded, I went through many emotions along with people from around the world. Pride and overwhelming emotion at the first responders and citizens who jumped in to help those in need. Pride at Boston’s world class medical system that leaped into action to get people treatment without skipping a beat. There is no doubt that such bombings in many other cities would have left even more chaos and devastation to the victims. These emotions felt strong, but cannot be a patch on what the actual people in Boston were feeling. As the week unfolded into a car chase, a citywide lock down, and finally the death of one suspect and the capture of another, we all looked on, riveted. The unavoidable questions were beginning to emerge about the suspects' backgrounds, immigration, how to spot these things ahead of time, what went wrong with these boys and how the remaining one should be punished. My favorite idea came from a fellow runner:

What I'd REALLY love to do is make him run the Boston Marathon every day for the rest of his life, barefoot, without proper chaffing protection or sunscreen, while all the spectators stone him every step of the way.”

That would certainly make us all feel better, but could never make up for that day and those still recovering or worse, those who did not have the chance to recover.  Regardless of who you are or where you were that day, one thing is certain:  Boston is not lacking any love or passion.  Registration recently opened for the 2014 Boston race and the eyes of the world will once again be on this city, to see how "the year after" unfolds.  I have no doubt that we will see the same passion and love that has always come to this race return with an even greater vigor and adversity will be cast aside. 


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