Saturday, 20 April 2013

A Microcosm Of Our World

This scene was devastating to watch and even harder to fathom. The Boston Marathon will forever be remembered for the tragedy that took place at the finish line, and I can't help but to wonder what would have provoked such an abhorrent act of violence against people who have little to do with anything happening in the world except for long-distance running. Even saying that, it's harder to understand because the bombs set of by two fairly young men injured only those that were there to cheer on friends and family in the marathon.

It has been said that sports is a microcosm of the world we live in; that we, as a society, can see the major societal changes happening in the world through sport. With the opening of the Jackie Robinson biopic 42 this week, it should be noted that when Jackie was breaking the color barrier in baseball, there was a major societal shift in thinking happening in the United States. These types of major changes are reflected in sport, and sport certainly shows us a great deal about ourselves when something tragic like the Boston Marathon bombing occurs as the players usually wear society's sentiments and feelings on their uniforms.

Cancelling games after this tragedy was a no-brainer. When the players returned to do their jobs, though, they reflected what so many people felt in society. The Boston Bruins and visiting Buffalo Sabres both wore "Boston Strong" ribbon stickers on their helmets as the country rallied around the strength of Boston's resolve in finding the suspects and regaining normalcy in their lives.
From there, the manhunt cancelled another set of games as a citywide lock-down went into effect as Boston police and Massachusetts state police located their potential suspects. With one of the two suspects shot dead, sporting events become less-than-important as police continue to do their jobs with increasing efficiency.

After capturing the second suspect late last night, Bostonians - and the rest of North America - breathed a sigh of relief. Boston and Massachusetts law enforcement were the heroes in bringing down two men who, on the surface, appeared to have no reason to commit such an act of terror in the city and country that they lived.

With the lock-down lifted and the surviving suspect in custody, the Boston Bruins played today against the Penguins and, just as society gave their thanks to the tireless efforts of the men and women of Boston and Massachusetts law enforcement, the Boston Bruins mirrored those thanks by wearing Massachusetts state police ballcaps in warmup while donning the "Boston Strong" ribbon patches on their uniforms.
The Penguins, in a show of solidarity like the Sabres, donned Boston-centric patches as well. Pittsburgh wore the "Boston 617" patch as they too supported the efforts in Boston and the citizens of Boston in this difficult time.
Both teams wore helmet stickers as well, and Pittsburgh goaltender Tomas Vokoun wore the "Boston 617" sticker on his mask's backplate as well.
Perhaps one of the classier things seen done by the Penguins happened before the game started. Dan Bylsma, being interviewed by the media, gave this quote:
"Clearly we were all watching for days and being here yesterday and being in the hotel, being inside certainly became a part of the situation and part of what the city of Boston was going through. I think although we weren't a part of it, the celebration outside as a city and as a people last night, and just feel like it's a great opportunity to play a game today with the city of Boston, and not just against the Bruins, but with the city and with the Bruins."
Again, sport is a reflection of society, and the Boston Strong sentiment was seen in Bylsma's words and on what he wore during the media scrum. Chris Kunitz also was wandering the halls of the arena in this same shirt before the game.
I know the Red Sox and the Celtics are also showing their support, but it seems like hockey is the one sport where everyone is far more connected to the community regardless of the city they play in. The Sabres and Penguins certainly showed that they support the city of Boston in this time, and I think it would be safe to say that the cities of Buffalo and Pittsburgh would be supportive of the citizens of Boston during this week.

Sports is a microcosm of the world we live in. While sports provides a great release from the world we sometimes live in, the sporting world speaks for the communities that they represent during times such as these. The voices they represent, though, as as much yours and mine as they are the team's and its players' voices.

Until next time, everyone be Boston Strong!

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