Souhan: Boston's best runners raced to help those in need

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 17, 2013 - 6:05 AM

Sports bring us together, and terroristic acts won’t pull us apart.

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Flowers are placed by a Boston police barricade near the finish line of the Boston Marathon

Photo: Winslow Townson, Associated Press

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It could happen here.

It could happen anywhere.

Any day, at any American ballpark, arena, stadium or finish line, a terrorist or random lunatic could kill us or our loved ones. That has always been true, which became clear as blood on cobblestones on Monday, when bombs killed and maimed people at the Boston Marathon on Patriots’ Day in a great American city.

Shrapnel packed into pressure cookers brought sports into the modern world, a world that lives under the daily threat of terrorism.

The good people in Boston on Monday have already proved that those attending sports events will react the way the rest of the modern world has, whether after a bombing at a sidewalk cafe in Tel Aviv or a thwarted gas attack on the tube in London. People learn, as the Brits say, to keep calm and carry on.

There is no other option if you are an American. To live in an open society is to embrace risk. There is no security system that can guarantee safety. From Monday forward, every person at a sports event will have reason to proceed with a heightened sense of awareness, a suspicion of the discarded backpack or a long overcoat on a warm day.

There is a difference, though, between awareness and fear. The people in Boston proved that when they had the most to fear.

Whatever life-imitating entity was responsible for the bombings in Boston wanted to see people running. That wish was fulfilled.

When smoke cascaded over the bodies and the blood, people ran.

First responders sprinted toward the noise. Competitors near the finish line of the Boston Marathon pushed on, toward Massachusetts General Hospital, to give blood. One elderly man knocked off his feet by one blast righted himself and finished the race.

We can be frightened. We can’t be terrorized.

The bombs in Boston reminded us that one of the dominant characteristics of evil is shrewdness.

Al-Qaida targeted the Twin Towers, symbols of capitalism.

The bombs in Boston targeted a democratic competition held on a day celebrating democracy.

There is a difference between shrewdness and understanding, though. The perpetrators in Boston will learn what Al-Qaida did, which is that an act of violence against Americans can kill and maim, but it can’t alter our way of life.

Somewhere someone with limited sensibilities is saying that the bombing “puts sports into perspective,” but that demonstrates only confusion over the place of sports in many of our lives.

A terroristic act doesn’t put sports into perspective any more than it puts music or theater or television or a yearning for good coffee into perspective.

Sport is one of the things we do together. In a country of increasing diversity in tastes and religions, sport might be the most prevalent and popular thing we do together.

  • related content

  • FBI appeals for help solving marathon bombings

    Wednesday April 17, 2013

    The bombs involved kitchen pressure cookers packed with explosives, nails and other lethal shrapnel — but the FBI said nobody has claimed responsibility.

  • Continuing coverage: Bombings in Boston

    Thursday May 23, 2013

    Three people were killed, including an 8-year-old boy, and more than 170 injured by two explosions just seconds apart near the Boston Marathon finish line.

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NY Mets 2 FINAL
Washington 0
Pittsburgh 7 FINAL
Detroit 3
Miami 3 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Boston - WP: K. Couch 11 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: C. Reavis 8
NY Yankees - LP: M. Tanaka 1 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: T. Milone 3
Tampa Bay 4 FINAL
Baltimore 3
Philadelphia 6 FINAL
Toronto 10
Chicago Cubs 15 FINAL
Texas 10
Cincinnati - WP: M. Lorenzen 10 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 4
Colorado 3 FINAL
San Francisco 4
Chicago WSox 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 1
Seattle 6 FINAL
Cleveland 8
Oakland - WP: J. Fuller 13 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: B. Loconsole 10
Texas 7 FINAL
Arizona 8
Houston 8 FINAL
Atlanta 5
Kansas City 4 FINAL
San Diego 1
Atlanta 95 FINAL
Detroit 105
Indiana 106 FINAL
Brooklyn 111
San Antonio 95 FINAL
Miami 81
Golden State 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 106
New Jersey 2 FINAL(OT)
Columbus 3
Carolina 2 FINAL
Washington 4
Florida 2 FINAL
Boston 3
Ottawa 2 FINAL(SO)
Detroit 1
Tampa Bay 1 FINAL
Toronto 3
NY Rangers 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Vancouver 5 FINAL(SO)
Nashville 4
UT Martin 66 FINAL
Evansville 79
Miami-Florida 60 FINAL
Temple 57
NJIT 61 FINAL
Northern Ariz 68
Stanford 67 FINAL
Old Dominion 60

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