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Marathon, Boston will overcome heartache

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan  April 15, 2013 09:16 PM

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Heartbreak Hill?

No, just a hill of heartache.

Actually a mountain.

Along with plenty of anger.

Sadness.

Fear.

Terror.

Pride.

Bewilderment.

Anguish.

Mostly pain.

They attacked the heart and soul of Boston Monday. Twice. Right at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Right in Copley Square. At 2:50 p.m. On Patriot's Day. Our own personal holiday. For those outside Massachusetts (and Maine), Patriot's Day is like a snow day without the snow.

This came about an hour after the Red Sox game ended. Just enough time for the folks streaming out of Fenway to stroll over to the Marathon finish line after a stop at the McDonald's in Kenmore Square.

About four hours into the race. Just when the bulk of charity runners were hoping to reach Mile No. 26.2. It was perfect timing. The most people at the most-watched spot. Softest target available.

Maximum effect.

Mission accomplished.

You can leave Boston but Boston never leaves you.

The pain - there's that word again - that came through the TV set, computer screen and across Twitter and Facebook was sickening.

Like so many of you, the pride of getting to say "I grew up in Massachusetts" or "I'm from Boston" has never been deeper than it is today. The people who live in Boston and those who grew up within its scope carry toughness, resiliency, a little arrogance and Jupiter-sized nads - when warranted - in their DNA, whether they be male or female.

These are not empty platitudes amid the rubble, shattered bodies and death inflicted Monday. Having been in the middle of the Columbine shooting during a term working in the newspaper business in Denver, I sadly know how this goes.

From a national or international perspective, the good wishes of the country and world will fade. It happened in Denver, and even New York in a sense after 9-11. But it becomes personal for the people in those cities or from those cities.

New York has become forever branded by 9-11.

Denver carried Columbine until it was replaced by Aurora.

This is forever a part of Boston - and the fact that it happened during the Marathon has pushed it into the sports world. The worst kind of sports story. Where the real world gets in the way. Bad. Munich 1972 bad.

The history of the Marathon and the city will forever include a lead sentence about what happened Monday.

I'll leave the who and the how for others.

The why here is simple: Someone hates freedom.

Boston has always felt safe. There is random, and sometimes not so random, crime there like any other city. But no one could have imagined - at least people who don't specialize in fighting crime and terrorism - that the Boston Marathon would be attacked with at least two bombs - right in the heart of the Marathon's prime time.

Of all my travels in and out of the City of Boston - starting as far back as I can remember which would be my first trip to Fenway at age five - I always felt safe. Explosions. Mass assaults. Terrorism, or acts of terror, happened elsewhere. Walking anywhere near or around the Back Bay, Downtown, Commonwealth Avenue, Boylston Street, Brighton or the North End - even at night - was done without a second thought - day or night.

Even Mrs. Obnoxious, who attended Simmons College and Suffolk Law School, roamed those campuses and the rest of the city without concern.

Sports and politics are the top two spectator sports in this city. Arguments are settled by those who have the loudest voice, the best comeback or the most votes. And after a few beers, even fists. But not with bombs.

Bombings and the like were for other cities. Boston was too smart, too smart-assed, to be a ripped apart like this. The images of war in Boston were 238 years old. They're not supposed to be filling your Twitter feed in 2013, proliferating this website and others.

It was supposed to be the perfect sports day. Red Sox in the morning, Marathon in the afternoon, Bruins at night. It's nearly a straight shot from Fenway to Copley Square, before veering left toward TD Garden. Hours of non-stop NESN. Instead, it was the worst day possible.

Sorry running fans, but the big story Monday was supposed to be Mike Napoli's wrist-flick walkoff double in the bottom of the ninth at Fenway Park.

The 8-4 Red Sox were rolling out of town in first place with the best team ERA in the American League at 1.99. The non-sellout crowd was treated to a memorable Patriot's Day win, right out of the of the Mark Loretta school of Patriot's Day baseball. All of this came after Ryan Dempster fanned 10 Rays over seven innings.

Andrew Bailey came in and promptly blew the lead in the top of the ninth, before getting the win in true Victory Vulture style.

A Red Sox showdown with their former boss Terry Francona awaits Tuesday night in Cleveland.

And there was more we were supposed to be talking about.

Later Monday, as people sifted through Marathon results to see how their brother-in-law and cousin did, the Bruins were going to take another push for first place against the Ottawa Senators, playing them for the 57th time this month.

There was still lots to discuss about the Masters - and the afterglow of the Tiger Rule and how it seems to apply in every part of his game - on and off the course.

The Patriots once again outsmarted themselves and lost a shot at shoring up their receiving corps when the Steelers matched a paltry offer on Emmanuel Sanders.

The Celtics were setting themselves up for their first-round matchup against the Knicks. KG vs. Melo and all that.

All great sports stories.

Nope - instead we got this:

And this, from former Patriot Joe Andruzzi, who later Tweeted that he and his family were OK.

In addition to the shock, so many were awe-struck by the incredible mass display of compassion, courage and competency of the first-responders, medical personnel and thousands of others who stepped up and dealt with this all-too-real Hollywood thriller.

Not to mention the runners themselves.

Some those runners picked themselves up literally, like Bill Iffrig, the 78-year-old multiple marathoner who was blown down by the first explosion at the finish line.

He was immortalized in the above Globe photo showing Boston's Finest at their finest.

Pride. Integrity. Guts. Indeed.

What did Iffrig do after the blast?

He got up and finished the race, naturally.

Boston, forever scarred, will get up and start again.

Always has.

Someday very soon.

There's no other way.

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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Obnoxious Boston Fan offers a fun, unique and biting perspective on the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, Patriots and whatever else people are talking about in the world of sports. We More »
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