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.


Please with your account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to 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.

  • Hoops Headquarters: Run for Redemption

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Premier League Soccer: Southampton vs. Bournemouth

    Saturday at 12:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Nascar Camping World Truck Series

    Saturday at 2:30 pm on FOX50

  • Golf: Shell Houston Open

    Saturday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • World Figure Skating Championships

    Saturday at 8:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NHL: Boston @ Chicago

    Sunday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NASL: NCFC at San Francisco

    Saturday, Apr. 8 at 10:00 pm on WRAL-2

  • NASL: NCFC vs. Edmonton

    Saturday, Apr. 15 at 7:30 pm on WRAL-2

  • NHL: Canes v. Columbus

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NASL: NCFC at San Francisco

    Saturday, Apr. 8 at 10:00 pm

  • NASL: NCFC vs. Edmonton

    Saturday, Apr. 15 at 7:30 pm

  • NASL: NCFC at Miami

    Saturday, Apr. 22 at 7:30 pm

Minor League Baseball
International League
Rochester 11:05 PT12:05 MT1:05 CT2:05 ET7:05 GMT
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 11:05 PT12:05 MT1:05 CT2:05 ET7:05 GMT
Pawtucket 4:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET12:05 GMT
Lehigh Valley 
Toledo 4:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET12:05 GMT
Norfolk 4:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET12:05 GMT
Columbus 4:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET12:05 GMT
Durham 4:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET12:05 GMT
Puerto Rico Open (PGA)
1D. Points-20F
2tR. Goosen-18F
2tB. DeChambeau-18F
2tB. Lunde-18F
5tS. Saunders-17F
5tP. Uihlein-17F
5tW. Kim-17F
8tJ. Henry-16F
8tC. Stroud-16F
10tM. Flores-15F
View Full Leaderboard
Kia Classic (LPGA)
1M. Lee-20F
2tA. Ernst-14F
2tS. Ryu-14F
4tM. Hur-12F
4tK. Icher-12F
4tC. Kerr-12F
4tS. Park-12F
4tG. Piller-12F
9S. Feng-11F
10I. Chun-10F
View Full Leaderboard
WGC Match Play (EURO)
Leader in BOLD/CAPS
JOHNSON v Rahm181 up
Tanihara v HAAS172 and 1
View Full Leaderboard
ATP Scoreboard
Wednesday, Mar. 29
Miami Open (ATP/WTA)
(2) K. Nishikori4 2    
F. Fognini6 6    
(5) R. Nadal6 6    
(13) J. Sock2 3    
WTA Scoreboard
Wednesday, Mar. 29
Miami Open (ATP/WTA)
(3) S. Halep6 67 2   
(10) J. Konta3 79 6   
(1) A. Kerber5 3    
(11) V. Williams7 6