On Monday, In Boston

Everyone felt the same sadness and horror on Marathon Monday. But it's different when you're from there.
Share |

I drove over the starting line of the Boston Marathon nearly every day for four years in high school, once on the 30 minute drive from my home to the little private school a few towns away, and then again on the way back. Each morning and afternoon I drove along the pastoral opening stretch of the marathon. I knew it was spring when the new starting line showed up, that Opening Day and April vacation were coming, that flowers would come up and that baseball season would soon begin for real—no more playing catch and fielding ground balls inside a gym. I knew that on Patriots Day I would have to find an alternate route to and from baseball practice.

Everyone out there knows this, because for 117 years the Boston Marathon took over the lives of everyone from Hopkinton to Boston on Patriots' Day. I knew it myself because the marathon was one of those sporting events, like the Olympics, that my grandmother loves. She loves the atmosphere, the openness of the event. The Boston marathon is, or was, one of the last truly open sporting events. After the events that happened yesterday, that will probably change.

***

I grew up a few miles from the starting line of the Boston Marathon, but I can't remember ever going to see the start of the race save one time with my grandmother. This was 17 years ago, when the marathon turned 100. I remember my grandmother explaining the significance to my two brothers and me, that we were there because this was important—important for Massachusetts, and especially for this part of the state, but also because of what it meant to all the people around us there at the start.

The starting point in Hopkinton looks more like an outdoor concert than a race. It's awash in people, with port-a-potties and lawn chairs strewn about and a blanket of buzzing noise over the whole thing. Runners congregate on the tiny square waiting their turn, stretching. Bystanders set up chairs and get watching spots hours before, around dawn or even before. Roads to and from the race are closed. Unless someone sets up camp, it's a long walk to the starting point. Runners begin lining up early; the crowd of them seems to go on forever, a sea of neon colors, short-shorts and funny looking hats with brims flipped up. Even at the start, nothing more than a metal barricade that could easily be pushed a side separates some of the world's elite athletes—those in the first packs—from revelers celebrating what feels like a national holiday. The ultra-focused Olympians, made superhuman by their discipline, were right there, right next to the rest of us.

Patriots' Day is, for non-marathoners, a celebration of discipline's purest, goofiest opposite. It's the final day of a long weekend and most people have the day off from work or school; the Red Sox start playing at 11, and people begin partying earlier than that. The celebrations are prosaic: spending time with friends and family, grilling food outside and doing nothing in particular. It is like the Fourth of July except it's not too hot and there is no waiting in endless traffic to get to and from Cape Cod. That, and the crucial difference that Patriots' Day's singular ritual is to stand outside and yell encouragement at people you don't know as they rush past. Patriots' Day is a celebration of Massachusetts history—there's a lot, of course, which you and every schoolkid knows—but also of the present, of the fact that Boston can still be the reason why tens of thousands of people show up in the morning, in Hopkinton, every year.

Boston is not only the state's capital, but it’s also the emotional capital—where the sports teams are and the source of a real local pride even for non-Bostonians. But the Boston Marathon includes more cities and towns than just Boston. It includes the towns on the way in, and the cities and towns (and states, and nations) that the runners come from. For all the history and the thousands of little overlapping dramas, despite the qualifying bar that limits the race to serious runners, the Boston Marathon is a race for everyone. It's a party anyone can join, and one that most people do.

***

It's also a drama that allows spectators to imagine themselves into any number of roles. Some dream of winning it, or just of running it; I dreamed of covering runners collapsing on Heartbreak Hill, reporting on the lead pack from the back of a truck, of finding some of the unique stories inside this 26.2-mile-long narrative. I had never hoped, or even bothered to fear, that I would end up chasing down stories from my home-office on marathon day because of some tragic event. I couldn't have dreamt it, and I wouldn't have.

And yet I did, because it happened and because it's my job, and because the horror superseded my day's assignment, which was taking pictures of famous people shooting a movie in Worcester. I thought, as I went about working the phone and running down this nightmare, of the days I spent driving that first stretch of the marathon. I thought of how I associated the race with my grandmother, and of my grandmother, and of all the intersecting affections between she and I and the race and our home. I thought of everyone watching, together; I thought of the small heroes running the race for one cause or another, whether it be research towards a cure for cancer, juvenile diabetes, AIDS, or to raise money for a best friend suffering from one of those. It made me wonder if this day will ever be the same. I thought of history and the future, how we'll remember it and what we'll celebrate—people helping, people trying, people going on. It's a lot to hold in mind, all that horror and hope. Marathon Monday has always been more than a day, has always contained multitudes. It all suddenly feels like too much.

Image via Wikimedia Commons/Pinswept.


Share |

Comments

You delivered such an impressive piece to read, giving every subject enlightenment for us to gain information. Thanks for sharing such information with us due to which my several concepts have been cleared. PhD Proposal

It is truly a well-researched content and excellent wording. I got so engaged in this material that I couldn’t wait reading. I am impressed with your work and skill. Thanks. Dsquared

I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.
voyance gratuite par telephone

You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up. Great work.
anime fans

A very excellent blog post. I am thankful for your blog post. I have found a lot of approaches after visiting your post. accountants haywards heath

Happy New Year 2018 SMS
I really like the dear information you offer in your articles. I’m able to bookmark your site and show the kids check out up here generally. Im fairly positive theyre likely to be informed a great deal of new stuff here than anyone else!

I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.
http://cribmattresses.strikingly.com/

The article has actually peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your web site and maintain checking for brand new information.
http://www.authorstream.com/vankeureiad23/

Hostgaror is a best hosting provider till now and it has its own reputation in the online industry. If you want to buy hosting from Hostgator then wait for Black Friday because on this day you can get maximum discount on all hosting plans. Hostgator BlackFriday Deals

Very good points you wrote here..Great stuff...I think you've made some truly interesting points.Keep up the good work. cheap essay writing service

Really appreciate you sharing this post.Really thank you! Want more.
Happy New Year wishes for friends

wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. keep us updated.
best shoulder injury chiropractor salinas ca

Great Article it its really informative and innovative keep us posted with new updates. its was really valuable. thanks a lot. Friv 3 games

We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up. Great work. Accountants Crawley

2trieu.com
Great tips and very easy to understand. This will definitely be very useful for me when I get a chance to start my blog.

Iridology Melbourne
I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.

Iridology Melbourne
I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.

Thanks for sharing this interesting blog with us.My pleasure to being here on your blog..I wanna come beck here for new post from your site.
happy diwali 2017

http://mattress-reviews.blogspot.com
Very exciting to study this content.I would like to thank you for the initiatives you had created for composing this amazing content.

Thanks for sharing this interesting blog with us.My pleasure to being here on your blog..I wanna come beck here for new post from your site.
http://mattress.truereviewer.com

wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. keep us updated.
diwali 2017 images

sbobet I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.

iaso tea We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. Great work.

Thank you very much for this useful article. I like it. BBC Clothing

I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.
radio fm

Thanks for a wonderful share. Your article has importations your hard work and experience you have got in This field. Brilliant reading .I love it.
http://bestglendalechiro.com/

Thanks for sharing this interesting blog with us.My pleasure to being here on your blog..I wanna come beck here for new post from your site.
expensive essay writing service

Pretty good post. I have just stumbled upon your blog and enjoyed reading your blog posts very much. I am looking for new posts to get more precious info. Big thanks for the useful info. http://toptestosteroneboosters.org/nugenix/

You delivered such an impressive piece to read, giving every subject enlightenment for us to gain information. Thanks for sharing such information with us due to which my several concepts have been cleared. do my biology homework

The article has actually peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your web site and maintain checking for brand new information.
make my homework

Wow, What an Outstanding post. I found this too much informatics. It is what I was seeking for. I would like to recommend you that please keep sharing such type of info.If possible, Thanks. leather handcuffs

essay writing services I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.

wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. keep us updated.
ignou hall ticket download

Paris massage domicile je me sent si bien maintenant la vie est devenue très stressante mais grace a mon massage domicile paris je me sent beaucoup mieux moins de fatigue domicile paris massage.Si j'attends trop pour avoir mon massage naturiste paris les mouvement du massage tantra paris domicile m'aident a plus me reposer En tout les cas le massage naturiste paris est excellent pour ma santé Pourquoi ne pas prendre rdv maintenant? Paris massage RDV VAS SUR domicile paris massage

voyance telephone We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. Great work.

Popcorn Time apk for android I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.

Self Assessment Tax Return Pretty good post. I have just stumbled upon your blog and enjoyed reading your blog posts very much. I am looking for new posts to get more precious info. Big thanks for the useful info.

iaso tea We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. Great work.

Thanks a lot very much for the high quality and results-oriented help. I won’t think twice to endorse your blog post to anybody who wants and needs support about this area.
flat for sale in chandigarh

Thanks a lot very much for the high quality and results-oriented help. I won’t think twice to endorse your blog post to anybody who wants and needs support about this area.
https://kundlisoftware.wordpress.com/

Thanks for sharing this interesting blog with us.My pleasure to being here on your blog..I wanna come beck here for new post from your site.
https://eaglepetrochem.blogspot.com.au/

Thanks for sharing this interesting blog with us.My pleasure to being here on your blog..I wanna come beck here for new post from your site.
https://eaglepetrochem.blogspot.com.au/

Pretty good post. I have just stumbled upon your blog and enjoyed reading your blog posts very much. I am looking for new posts to get more precious info. Big thanks for the useful info. Tax Accountant

Succeed! It could be one of the most useful blogs we have ever come across on the subject. Excellent info! I’m also an expert in this topic so I can understand your effort very well. Thanks for the huge help. bondage rope

Thanks for a wonderful share. Your article has importations your hard work and experience you have got in This field. Brilliant reading .I love it.
showboxhq.com

We believe that everyone deserves a chance at moving ahead with their lives. In our Mitigation services we strive to provide the Court with your history For our other court appointed services, our goal is to help provide the most up to date and relevant interventions.
voyance par telephone

Wow, What an Outstanding post. I found this too much informatics. It is what I was seeking for. I would like to recommend you that please keep sharing such type of info.If possible, Thanks. hampton bay lighting

https://youtvplayer.info
The article has actually peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your web site and maintain checking for brand new information.

Thanks for sharing this interesting blog with us.My pleasure to being here on your blog..I wanna come beck here for new post from your site.
hb swiss scam

Extreme Landings
You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up. Great work.