Since the Boston Marathon is tomorrow (or today, depending on when you read this), I thought I'd check in to tell you what I'm thinking about.
I don't watch the Boston Marathon every year. To be honest, sometimes I don't even like watching it. The logistics of parking and road closures, the inevitable headache from focusing so hard to find the runner you want to see, and the hoarse voice from yelling so loud… Yes, I know it's much harder for the runners, but sometimes spectating a marathon is no joke either. But, some of my best memories from college are from Marathon Monday. When you live on the route, the logistics are a lot less, and when you are in college you can acceptably drink away your worries and just cheer with reckless abandon. The Boston Marathon is amazing because of the runners, because of all they sacrifice to train in the cold winter months, because of all they sacrifice to be able to run up Heartbreak Hill, because of so much more. But, the spectators are important too. They are also what make it such a great marathon to run. That is why it broke my, and the world's, heart when two men placed bombs down next to the spectators at the finish line. The hardcore spectators who had braved the parking and road closures to support the people they love and cheer for the people they don't even know. The running community took it personally, Boston took it personally, everyone took it personally.
I was in DC last year during the marathon. Eric and I woke up early on Monday morning and were being crazy tourists in the city when the text messages started flooding in checking to make sure we were okay. We saw the effects of what happened in DC: flags at half mast, much tighter security, etc. The effects of what happened were clearly felt outside of Boston. But when we got home, it was hard to think about much else. I wrote about being thankful for the good moments in these big moments of crisis. It was easier to focus on the positive.
Boston gets a bad reputation because we don't always seem friendly and welcoming, but I think we showed the world that we are strong and we take care of each other. That Friday we took such good care of each other that the city of Boston and several surrounding towns literally stopped completely so that the police could find one of the bombers. It was scary to be told not to leave your house on what seemed to be a Friday like any other, but no one protested because finding one of the men responsible for attacking our city was everyone's top priority on that day. From the business owners who lost money keeping their shops closed, to my students who were stuck inside on a beautiful sunny day.
I'm still proud of this city.
I am sometimes reluctant to be a proud American (but don't you dare say anything bad about us), but I am always proud to be from Boston. We have a beautiful and historical city, with great restaurants and amazing sports teams. It doesn't bother me at all if you don't want to talk to me in the grocery store line, actually I'd prefer it if you don't. You'll take care of me when it matters.
I am so proud of all the runners and spectators for the marathon this year. I am so proud of you for overcoming your fears and showing the bad guys that they will not win.