No More Hurting People.

A photo of 8-year-old Martin Richards, killed in Monday's bombing

A photo of 8-year-old Martin Richards, killed in Monday’s bombing

I’m upset. We all are. As someone who was not directly affected by a friend or family member killed or injured, the sadness that dwells in my heart still lingers, but is slowly being replaced. My life continues. Last night I went to a concert, arguably one of the best shows I’ve ever seen put on by Timeflies – a two man group who got their education down the road at Tufts – at the House of Blues. In the middle of the show, several first responders, one of whom went to high school with the band’s lead singer, came onto stage. It was the loudest roaring of applause I’ve ever heard. In this city, that means something.

I’ve gone back and forth with my emotions. I don’t know what to feel.

To a degree, I’m scared – perspective becomes a bit sharper, words and actions sting or comfort a little more than average, but awareness most of all is on guard and red alert when tragedy strikes so close to home.

It hit hardest when I realized what might have been. I’ve always wanted to go to the Red Sox Patriot’s Day 11 am game, as well as the Boston Marathon. Patriot’s Day may well be the best day every year in Boston. It’s filled with joy – of both the sober and drunken variety – and camaraderie. No one cares about anything else but loving each other, their sports teams, and the city we’re all so proud to call our own. I’ve always wanted to experience it, and I just turned 21 so this seemed like the year to go. Instead, my priorities shifted and I spent time with people I care about over the weekend, neglecting a story I had to get done for work and suffering for it on Monday by not being able to go into the city. I would’ve gone to the Red Sox game, had the time of my life, and wandered straight over to the finish line to join in the pure joy and elation of families, friends, and runners celebrating such incredible accomplishments. I would’ve gotten there just around the time the first bomb went off. I would’ve been standing right there. I could be dead right now.

Had I survived the blast, I wouldn’t have run. I’m too stupid to do that. I would’ve thrown my own neck on the line like every other brave hero out there and tried to save someone’s life since mine was fortunate enough to be spared. I’m no hero, but I would’ve tried pretty hard last Monday.

Instead I’m writing about it, trying to figure everything out. Part of me feels blessed, part of me feels guilty. Why them, not me? Why an 8-year-old boy? Why?

To a degree, I’m angry. I want to fight. But not fight like war – no, more violence is the last thing we need (although to be fair if I met this punk on the street he’d have a few teeth less than an old time Bruin, but that’s besides the point). I want to be in the middle of it. I wish I were one of those cops or first responders – one of Boston’s Finest – being out there making a difference. I feel helpless. I want to fight for everything that’s good in this world, not promote this cowardly act and the losers behind it.

So that’s why I’m writing this, I guess. Partially for you, whoever you are reading this, to encourage you. Smile at someone today. Hold a door for someone, whether they need it or not.

When I was younger and trying to understand death, grown ups told me people died because God wanted them to come home. As I got a little older, they explained everyone was here for a purpose. Sometimes, you’ve fulfilled your purpose at a much younger age than any of us would like, so God lets you come home and join Him in eternal paradise and happiness.

What these terrorists tried to do was exactly what’s been happening so far – they wanted to scare us. they wanted us to be uncomfortable. They wanted us to be angry. They wanted us to pay – God knows what for. They’re succeeding.

We cannot let that happen.

When little 8-year-old Martin Richard saw his father cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon, he was so excited that he ran out from the sidewalk and embraced his father in a hug to congratulate him. He then ran back over to his mother and sister on the sidelines as his father went to go get the medal he rightfully deserved. Just as he got there, the bomb went off.

The terrorists want us to remember the fear that overwhelmed us, the grief that swept us off our feet, and the anger that has embraced us in the hours and days that have followed.

That’s not how this can be remembered.

Instead of fear, be strong. Hold those you love close and know that love will overcome. Instead of grief, celebrate the life you still have, and the difference these poor, innocent victims have made on our lives this week alone – we’ve all come together, we’ve all worked as one, and we’ve all united in a time where a weaker, less capable community would fall apart. And instead of anger, kill these cowardly fools with kindness. Try, somewhere in your hearts, to forgive them. Pray for them. May God have mercy on their souls, and may they forever live with pain and suffering we’ve experienced burdening their already distorted hearts.

We can start with 8-year-old Martin. He had so much life to live, so much potential ahead of him. Instead, the memory of his last few moments – pure, innocent, unequivocal love and joy will be his lasting image of this attack.

You can huff, you can puff, but you can’t blow Boston down. We are Boston Strong. So was Martin Richard.

Pray, Love, Remember. Don’t let them win.

The Wrong City To Mess With

FINAL Fundraiser shirt and buy now button

Every shirt sold supports onefundboston.org

I’m very proud and excited to announce that in collaboration with the cool peeps over at I Love Boston Sports, I’ll be selling these kickass T shirts featuring their “The Town” artwork that has been reworked on a Tshirt that says “The Wrong City To Mess With”.

Every shirt sold helps onefundboston.org by giving proceeds to The One Fund Boston, Inc.

Do you like the shirt? Do you love Boston? Do you want to help those affected by this horrible tragedy? Then this is the shirt for you. By clicking on the picture above, you can order yours today!

*Note* The link will take you to a PayPal page. If you don’t have PayPal, you can use the link below it to pay with a credit or debit card.

*Note 2* Due to my lack of computer wizardry, there’s no drop down menu to select a size. When you order the shirt, after you enter your credit card and shipping information, there will be an option on the “Review and Pay” screen to type in your shirt size – right underneath your shipping information. PLEASE don’t forget to do this and make my life easier : )

Thanks in advance for your support and generosity!

#BostonStrong

Contact me with any questions regarding orders at bradleyp@merrimack.edu

Readers can follow Pat on Twitter at @PatBradleyUSCHO

Why I Love Sports: The Day The Terrorists Lost

Sports is usually our escape. Our getaway. Our sanctuary.

Monday in Boston, it was our crime scene. Just after the four hour mark of the Boston Marathon, two bombs went off at the finish line, killing at least 3 people and injuring hundreds others.

The Bruins and Celtics both canceled their games, and the Red Sox were on their way out of town. In a season where there is often 3 Boston teams playing on any given night, there were none. And that was okay. Sports took a backseat to life in our neck of the world, as we tried to piece together what had happened hours before. What followed, however, is a reminder of why we love sports in the first place. The games are our comfort, their events a distraction. We hate other teams and players so we don’t hate our own, and we rally around one cause that brings us together so passionately.

Despite the hated rivalries across professional sports that Boston maintains, sometimes events and people transcend sports. Yesterday’s tragedy at the Boston Marathon is one such instance. Several teams, athletes and news outlets have taken to different forms of media to express their sympathy and prayers to the city of Boston and all those affected by it’s rivalries. Below is a montage of just some of the outpouring of love and respect the sporting world has shown us in our time of need.

Probably the coolest, most touching gesture of them all: late Tuesday afternoon the Yankees tweeted “We stand united with Boston” with a picture

A touching display outside Yankee Stadium from typically hated rivals

A touching display outside Yankee Stadium from typically hated rivals

The team later announced that they would play “Sweet Caroline,” a song that is a staple of Fenway Park at every game, after the third inning following a moment of silence before the game. Here’s video from the Yankees Network of the stadium during the song.

Yankees fans also came out to the ballpark in support of Boston

Scenes like this were not uncommon Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium

Scenes like this were not uncommon Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium

The acts of kindness didn’t go unnoticed

Neil Diamond

thanks ny

The Yankees weren’t the only ones showing their support though. Across the NBA, NHL, and MLB, Moments of Silence were observed before most games. Across baseball, the Marlins, Cubs, Reds, A’s, Indians, Yankees and Braves all played Sweet Caroline at some point during their games. The University of South Carolina, Jackie Bradley Jr.’s old stomping grounds, played the song during their game as well. The Brewers played the theme song to “Cheers!” a  famous TV show about a Boston bar.

The Montreal Canadiens, the biggest rivals of the Boston Bruins, were one of the teams to salute Boston with a moment of silence and a Twitter shout out.

Canadiens Tweets

In Chicago at the Blackhawks game, a moment of silence was held. Right at the end, a fan somewhere yelled “we love you, Boston!” and the crowd erupted in cheers that continued straight through the National Anthem. Typically a silent event, Chicago fans decided to cheer through the powerful rendition of the Anthem just like fans were cheering at the finish line of the Boston Marathon when the bombs went off.

Today’s edition of the Chicago Tribune paid tribute to Boston as well, saying “We are Chicago” with the five major Boston sports logos underneath.

The cover of the Sports section of the Chicago Tribune

The cover of the Sports section of the Chicago Tribune

In Philadelphia, Phillies closer and former Red Sox pitcher Jonathan Papelbon expressed his sorrow and disbelief over the situation. Papelbon used to live in a building right above where one of the bombs went off.

“I used to live right above where one of the bombs went off,” Papelbon said. “It’s kind of surreal. I don’t know man, it’s crazy. It’s hard to even think about.

“I lived right above Abe and Louie’s,” he said referring to a steakhouse in the area. “It’s sad, man.”

Papelbon wasn’t the only Phillie to respond to the situation. Outfielder Ben Revere wrote the words “PRAY For Boston” on a piece of tape that he placed on his glove. Then, he made the catch of the year.

A touching display from Ben Revere followed by the catch of the year

A touching display from Ben Revere followed by the catch of the year

Everyone’s support endured.

Torey Smith tweets

Ravens Wide Receiver Torey Smith

NBA superstar and Celtic arch-nemesis LeBron James

NBA superstar and Celtic arch-nemesis LeBron James

Carmelo tweet

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony

cory Schneider

Vancouver Canucks and former Boston College goalie Cory Schneider

Jets tweet

The New York Jets

MWP

Lakers Forward and longtime Celtics rival

Kobe Tweet

Lakers Superstar Kobe Bryant Tweeted out a picture from Instagram, shown below

Kobe Instagram

And then in Cleveland, a touching display of welcome and support from the city, highlighted by this card from one of  Cleveland’s little tikes.

inside dugout

from our city to yours

Will Middlebrooks, the Red Sox Third Baseman, summed it up best, shown below in an infographic from Comcast Sports Net New England

CSN Middlebrooks Tweet

The Red Sox themselves had their own tribute in the dugout, a jersey with the words “Boston Strong” and the numbers “617”, Boston’s area code, on the back.

Boston Strong Jersey

April 15th, 2013 will never be forgotten in Boston. The acts of the terrorists who planted the bombs have tragically changed our lives forever. But this week will not be remembered as the time that Boston fell.

This will be remembered as the day our city came together and saved each other.

This will be remembered as the day the good guys won.

The day the terrorists lost.

Welcome to Boston.

Sports Illustrated cover

  yanks buds

Hug those you hold dear. Don’t forget to say I love you. Never give up, never back down, and always Keep the Faith.

Pray for those who lost their lives, pray for those who were hurt, and pray for the city of Boston.

May God have mercy on us all and hold us in his graces through this difficult time.

Thanks, America. We love you too.

#BostonStrong

Celtics/Pacers Canceled

Celtics Canceled

The NBA Public Relations Department announced via a private Twitter account that tomorrow’s (4/16) game between the Boston Celtics and the Indiana Pacers at TD Garden has been canceled with no make up date due to the events that occurred in Boston at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Both teams have clinched playoff births, and the Celtics are locked into the seventh seed, where they will play the New York Knicks in the first round of the NBA Playoffs starting this weekend. The game would have no impact on the standings.

The NBA Playoff Schedule has not yet been announced, but Boston plays its final regular season game Wednesday night in Toronto against the Raptors. Celtics coach Doc Rivers has speculated that the teams will play their first game Saturday in New York, as the Rangers play at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. Because the Knicks own the higher seed, the first two games of this playoff series will be played in New York, meaning at least a week will have likely passed before the Celtic take the court again at TD Garden.

Good for the NBA for getting people out of a distressed city. Remember these athletes have families as well, many of which are very far away. There’s no need to worry or burden even more people.

Celtics Recall Melo from Maine

About two hours before the bombings in Boston, the Celtics announced that they recalled rookie center Fab Melo from the Maine Red Claws, their D-League affiliate. It is unclear whether or not Melo will remain on the active playoff roster, or if he will solely serve as depth for the remainder of the regular season while Boston rests its regular players. Over his final 10 games with Maine, Melo averaged 8.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in just under 21 minutes per game.

Once again, If you’re still searching for people and victims, call: 617-635-4500. For any info on incidents, suspicious activity: 1-800-494-TIPS.

Stay home, stay safe, and pray. Tell those you love that you love them.

God Bless Boston and the messed up world we live in.

Bruins Game vs Senators Postponed

ference game canceled

UPDATE 4/16: The Bruins/Senators game originally scheduled for April 15th at TD Garden has been rescheduled to Sunday April 28th at 7 pm. The game will be the team’s regular season finale.

The Boston Bruins canceled tonight’s game vs the Ottawa Senators just before 5pm today. The Red Sox also confirmed that the team bus was leaving the area for the airport just as first reports of the bombs were coming out. No word on whether or not they flew out of Boston for tomorrow’s game in Cleveland.

Cell phone service has temporarily been shut down in Boston as police fearing remote detonation. For victims, people seeking family members call: 617-635-4500. For any info on incidents, suspicious activity: 1-800-494-TIPS.

Stay home, stay safe, and pray. Tell those you love that you love them.

God Bless Boston and the messed up world we live in.

Valentines Vicariousness

Superficial Love

Superficial Love

Ah Valentine’s Day: Where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter! Wait, sorry, that’s the tag line for Whose Line Is It Anyway

although, if we’re being honest, Valentine’s Day is kind of a joke as it is. The whole idea is that this is the one day of the year where you’re supposed to show your love for someone, often times just a meaningless person you’ve asked to be “your valentine” so you’re not miserable and alone. The entire concept of loving someone for just one day of the year, let alone showing it through monetary avenues and commercialized, unoriginal ideas, is simply ridiculous.

Saint Valentine, for which the day is named and remembered, was a third century Roman of whom very little is known. What they do know is that he was a martyr – that’s right, he died for what he loved. The only other well known information is that since the Middle Ages, he has been associated with courtly love.

So here we are, celebrating the memory of a man who gave his life for what he loved, and who in life was associated with courtly love, by means of over-priced teddy bears, heart-shaped plastic boxes of candy (half of which no one actually likes and ultimately throws away), and flowers that any other day we could buy for a minimum of half the price. It’s a money-making fiasco that allows ‘peace of mind’ for one day of the year, or absolutely destroys all hope single people have for their futures.

Saint Valentine died for what he loved, but we’re buying flowers for the same reason? I’m hard pressed to find any value in that. At this point, all the women reading this are rolling their eyes or thinking, frustratedly, “ugh, men will never understand” or “but it means so much to us!” to which I say this: You’ve been raised in a culture that says flowers mean I love you, I’m thinking of you, I care about you. Here’s the dirty truth: when a guy buys you flowers, it’s because either A) he had to (like on Valentine’s Day) or B) he passed the vendor on his way home and thought it would earn him some extra brownie points he either needs or could hold onto for future withdrawal. More often than not, he wasn’t thinking of you all day, nor is he the sweetest guy in the planet. But, thanks to commercialized love like Valentine’s Day, he was able to fool you. Flowers don’t mean I love you any more than a happy meal does. Sure, it’s a nice gesture, but here’s a man whose life was centered around the study and encouragement of chivalry. All women ever talk about is how chivalry is dead, but here you are accepting stuffed animals and money in place of 3 simple words! Chivalry isn’t dead, ladies, your standards are.

Can you even begin to imagine dying for something you love? The simple thought of giving your life to protect and stand up for something that means that much to you is beyond my world of understanding. For those of you out there truly in love, maybe you get it. For those of you out there who remember holding your children in your arms for the first time, you definitely do. Me? Sure I’ve been in love and have no remorse or ill feelings towards any of them. But give my life? That’s a stretch. Love is such a binding, mind-blowing commitment and dedication that will change your life and the way you think of it forever. It’s in no means a bad thing, don’t misunderstand me. Just be careful what you wish for.

I’m not saying flowers are bad, nor is it like I’ve never bought them. All men are not evil, slimy scoundrels, and all women are not clueless flakes. I’m also not telling you to go play in traffic to prove how strongly you feel about someone, but what I am saying is this:

If you truly desire a love defined by money and candy, well, you’ll get it. And I’m sorry for you. But if that’s all you ever hope for and all that makes you happy, you’ll never understand love. Not true love, anyway.

So to all the single people out there, keep your heads held high – embrace the loneliness that you previously expected, and let that emotion fuel the movement to start loving yourself, the first step to falling in love with someone else.

And to those so lucky to hold someone you care for close – hold them a little longer, hug them a little tighter, and just appreciate who they are and what you have. Because ultimately, that’s more indicative of love than any superficial teddy bear money could ever buy.