Monday was supposed to be completely predictable.
Even the most delusional Georgetown fan, after all, had long known that Otto Porter Jr. (COL ’15) was leaving the men’s basketball team and going pro. But as I sat in the McDonough Gymnasium lobby at Porter’s press conference, my phone went off notifying me about the Boston Marathon bombing, and everything started to spin. It’s not every day that Georgetown captures the sporting world’s attention with a potential lottery pick leaving early, but, suddenly, I wanted to get out of there as quickly as I could.
Boston is my hometown. My dad works on Berkeley Street; my brother lives on Boylston. At night, when the Red Sox are playing, you can go up onto the rooftop of my brother’s apartment building, and, if you strain your eyes enough, you can catch a game for free.
On the other end of Boylston on Monday, though, arose a very different and very tragic scene.
Two bombs were detonated at the finish line, killing at least three in the area and injuring over a hundred more. Those nearby reported flying limbs, bloody heads and inescapable fear.
Monday was supposed to be the same great day for Boston that it is year-in and year-out.
Marathon Monday (really Patriots’ Day) is a tradition wholly unique to our city. We may not be able to compare in terms of size or economic force to other cities, but when it comes to marathons, we have some 80 years of history on Chicago and 73 on New York.
Most companies give their employees the day off, and — except for the case of those families lining up along the streets to watch firsthand — the race is on the TV of every household. The vast majority of us don’t really know any of the top competitors, but almost everyone knows at least one person who is running.
In a strange way, it may just be the best way we Sox-loving Bostonians to prove ourselves: We may never make the team, but finishing the marathon is no small feat.
The grandfather of one of my friends from high school used to participate in the marathon every single year, even well into his 70s. He refused to stop until 2011, his 27th race in a row coming at the ripe old age of 76.
Monday was supposed to be magic.
Maybe aside from Easter, Marathon Monday is my brother’s favorite holiday. When that text came in during the presser, I thought of him immediately. Bursting out of the McDonough Gymnasium doors, I called my mom and breathed a sigh of relief.
Will — who undoubtedly would have been on the street watching the race any other year — was on business in North Carolina, having left that morning; my dad was working from home.
Still, it hit me hard after I got off the phone how the scope of yesterday’s shocking tragedy was not at all limited to the people closest to me. One way or another, whether it’s through distant relatives or mere acquaintances, the marathon touches everyone in Massachusetts. A teacher at my high school was in surgery last night. The details of his injuries still aren’t clear.
My revelation about Boston’s inherent interconnectivity quickly rushed over me as I hurriedly walked back to my dorm, and I didn’t know what to do other than to go straight to my girlfriend’s room, wake her up from her nap and hug her.
A McLean, Va., native, Emily was wearing a shirt that read, of all things, “Boston.”
She didn’t know.
On a broader level, for all intents and purposes, none of us right now really do either.
Twenty-six miles is a grueling challenge, one that to most people seems a godly, impossible feat. I, for one, will probably never be able to complete it.
The cruel symbolism of planting bombs at the finish line, then, is readily apparent — an act of ungodly terror in what should be a glorified moment of triumph over both terrain and body.
Monday was supposed to be a celebration.
Sport is simple — teams compete, there are winners and there are losers, and, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter which one is which.
This is different. This matters.
There are no winners here. And once again, as Americans, there are no teams.
RYAN BACIC is a sophomore in the College. He is sports editor of The Hoya.