Ken Medlin

When sports bring people together

Posted April 17, 2013
Updated April 18, 2013

There are times when sports can bring people together. Sports can unify communities, cities, states and even nations. We are living in one of the more unfortunate examples of those times.

Boston's pro teams were right to postpone games in the horrifying aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing. Now they are right to begin playing again, giving the people of that embattled city a chance to return to normalcy.

The scene at Boston's TD Garden Wednesday night was one of the most powerful we'll ever see in sports. The Boston crowd simply took over the national anthem, delivering a thunderous rendition that would bring chills to even the most cynical among us.

That moment had to be cathartic for a city in pain - a chance to let raw emotion take over in a release of tensions too great for any community to bear. It was both angry and hopeful, simultaneously proud and reverent.

And it was real.

The crowd at the Garden - if not an entire city - needed that moment. And then they needed to escape for a few hours, to get away from the grim reality still so fresh in the nation's mind.

At their best, sports allow us that chance, the chance to immerse ourselves - whether as players or spectators - in the thrill and drama of the spectacle unfolding. We play for the fun of it. We watch for the thrill of it. And for a few short moments, we slip away from whatever problems this short life can bring us.

Sometimes we lose sight of this - falling into the trap of My Team vs Your Team, obsessing about coaches' decisions and referees' calls. But the essence of sport is the capacity to entertain. Boston needed that. America needed that.

The images from the Boston Marathon will be stamped in our memories for a generation. And they should. They should stand as reminders of what can happen when we drop our guard, and they should also stand as reminders of just how privileged we are to live in a free society.

But let's also remember the images from two days after the bombings - the scene at the TD Garden when thousands of fans began the process of healing.

That's what sports can help us do.

4 Comments

Please to add a comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • NothingButNet Apr 18, 2013

    View quoted thread



    Agree about the gesture by the Sabres. Their fans (Sabres)usually deserve any grief we give them, but in this case the Sabres' players showed a lot of class, illustrating we're all one nation united, showing support for Boston.

  • VT1994Hokie Apr 18, 2013

    Very well written Ken. You hit some great points.

  • caniacman Apr 18, 2013

    That anthem was unreal!! Also really cool that the Sabres after the game stayed out and tipped their sticks to the Boston fans, that was very cool!! We here give the Sabres a lot of grief, but they deserve a shout out for that!

  • StunGunn Apr 18, 2013

    Great article, Ken, and I do agree that sports to bring people together and start the healing process. But for all the bravery and solidarity Boston is showing, as a nation we've never really healed completely since 9/11, and our children will never have the feeling of safety and security we had as children, and that's sad.

  • ACC: Syracuse at NC State

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Florida at Kentucky

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Pac 12: Stanford at Arizona

    Saturday at 4:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Big Ten: Wisconsin at Minnesota

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NBA: Dallas at Portland

    Tonight at 9:30 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NHL: Hurricanes vs. Minnesota

    Tomorrow at 8:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
7:00pm Tonight
ECU
TEMPL
7:30pm Tonight
NCCU
NCAT
 
4th
DET 1
ATL 0
 
4th
TAM 0
BAL 0
 
4th
PIT 0
NYY 0
 
4th
HOU 1
PHI 1
 
5th
MIA 0
STL 2
 
3:05pm Today
SFG
CHC
 
3:05pm Today
CIN
CLE
 
3:05pm Today
CWS
LOS
 
3:05pm Today
ANA
MIL
 
3:05pm Today
CHC
OAK
 
3:05pm Today
SEA
SDP
 
3:05pm Today
KAN
TEX
 
3:10pm Today
ARI
COL
 
5:05pm Tonight
WAS
NYM
 
7:05pm Tonight
MIN
BOS
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
OKC
10:30pm Tonight
POR
DAL
4:00pm Today
MDES
MRGST
 
5:00pm Tonight
SIENA
NIAG
7:00pm Tonight
LEH
AMER
 
7:00pm Tonight
SCAR
ARK
7:00pm Tonight
LAF
BU
 
7:00pm Tonight
PETE
FAIR
7:00pm Tonight
BUCK
HC
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNF
LIP
 
7:00pm Tonight
TENNM
MORE
7:00pm Tonight
COL
NAVY
 
7:00pm Tonight
ECU
TEMPL
7:00pm Tonight
FATL
UAB
7:00pm Tonight
FLGC
USCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHAR
WKENT
7:00pm Tonight
MINN
WISC
7:05pm Tonight
MIZST
SILL
7:30pm Tonight
COPST
DELST
 
7:30pm Tonight
FIU
MTST
7:30pm Tonight
HAMP
NORST
 
7:30pm Tonight
NCCU
NCAT
 
7:30pm Tonight
COOK
SCST
 
7:30pm Tonight
APP
TXST
 
7:30pm Tonight
GSOUT
TXARL
 
8:00pm Tonight
LAMON
UGST
 
8:00pm Tonight
ODU
MARS
8:00pm Tonight
TXSA
RICE
8:00pm Tonight
FAM
SAV
 
8:00pm Tonight
LATU
SMISS
8:15pm Tonight
LALAF
ARKLR
 
8:30pm Tonight
JST
ALAAM
 
8:30pm Tonight
GRAM
ALAST
 
8:30pm Tonight
TXSOU
ALCOR
 
8:30pm Tonight
NICST
CARK
 
8:30pm Tonight
TAMCC
HOUB
 
8:30pm Tonight
NARZ
PORST
 
8:30pm Tonight
LAM
SHSU
 
8:30pm Tonight
ARKST
SALA
 
8:30pm Tonight
PVU
SOUTH
 
8:45pm Tonight
NO
SELA
 
9:00pm Tonight
INCWORD
ABCHRIST
 
9:00pm Tonight
MVSU 0
ARKPB 0
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARZ
CAL
9:00pm Tonight
WASH
COL
9:00pm Tonight
BEL
EILL
9:00pm Tonight
WEBER
IDAHO
 
9:00pm Tonight
QUIN
MAR
9:00pm Tonight
UCONN
MEM
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
UNT
9:00pm Tonight
STEPH
NWST
 
9:00pm Tonight
SUTAH
SACST
 
9:00pm Tonight
DAVID
VCU
9:05pm Tonight
IDST
EWASH
 
9:35pm Tonight
DRAK
BRAD
10:00pm Tonight
LBSU
CSNO
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCI
CSFU
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCD
UCR
 
11:00pm Tonight
ARST
STAN
11:00pm Tonight
WASU
UTAH
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
CAL
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
MIN
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
STL
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
DAL
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
TOR
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
NYI
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
VAN
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
MON