Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Running To The Blasts

TigerBlog can't imagine what runs through someone's mind as he or she runs toward where the bomb just went off, rather than away from it.

Is someone born with that sort of courage, to run to the bomb, to the danger, to the uncertainty - when 99.9% of people run away, as fast as possible.

TB would be one of the 99.9%, he's pretty sure. He doesn't kid himself.

He's awed by the firemen who ran up the stairs of the World Trade Center nearly 12 years ago, and he's awed by those who ran to help yesterday, when bomb blasts once again ripped into a peaceful American day, this time near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

This happened on Patriots Day, which is up there with Christmas among favorite days on the annual Bostonian calendar, as TB understands it.

Maybe it's a product of the world of immediate information that we live in, but the thirst for answers is matched only by the inability of the media to say "there are no answers yet."

As always happens with horrific stories like this, the media has the need to devote all of its coverage to the incident, even though there's almost nothing new to say. The results are often the worst moments in American media.

For starters, there is the need to constantly be offering up something, anything, even though everything being offered is either speculation or the 100th recitation of "the bombs went off 20 seconds apart."

And then it gets politicized. By both sides. And that's something that's easier to have happen in the Twitter age.

Meanwhile, far away from the spotlight, the real-life version of "Homeland" is being played out, with law enforcement on one side and whoever did this on the other.

And once again, in this world that we've been forced into, Americans are left to balance all of the emotions: fear, anger, uncertainty, bewilderment.

Are you a coward because you're afraid? Are you a coward because you're comfortable in your day-to-day life and don't want to think about how close it can all come to where you are?

And can you hide from it? Can sports provide the diversion necessary, the sanctuary?

TigerBlog thinks the answer is yes and no.

As he drove yesterday afternoon, he flipped back and forth between WFAN with Mike Francesa and CBS sports radio, with Doug Gottlieb, who is quickly becoming a TB favorite, by the way.

Francesa spoke only of the terrorist act in Boston. Gottlieb referred to the events in Boston while also conducting the sports side of his show, all in the context of having it be a diversion.

TB wasn't sure which one was right.

Hey, in his blog today, he's not even sure what he should be doing. Somehow, though, it didn't seem right just to talk about women's lacrosse and the big game at Penn tomorrow night.

That can wait for another day.

Today, TB feels an obligation to stay focused on what happened in Boston.

How reality intrudes into every day life, whether he wants it to or not. How he came away a little shaken, a little fearful.

And yet again, in awe, of so many people.

The 78-year-old man who was knocked to the ground by the blast and who got up and finished the race. And the runners who came across the line and kept going, after 26.2 miles, to Massachusetts General Hospital, where they gave blood.

And again, to the first responders, the ones with the courage to run to the blasts, unsure if there were more explosions to come, if they would be next.

Especially to them.

That's real courage. That's real commitment. That's heroic.

Sports? They produce a different version of those three things, and not the kind of version that really merits discussion here today.

No, today is for letting all of the emotions of Patriots Day in Boston come out, to think about the ones who were killed or hurt, to think of all the lives that have changed, and to think again about how the world today is not what it was when TB was a kid, when the only threat was from a nuclear warhead fired by the Soviet Union, something that never would happen but yet caused so much panic for so many years here.

Tomorrow will be a day to talk Princeton-Penn women's lacrosse. And everything else that reflects normalcy around here, around this country, as the real-life Homelanders continue to go about their business.

After all, that's how America wins.

By going forward with business as usual - even while being just a little bit more afraid than before.

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