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The 9 Most Memorable Sports-Related Tributes To Boston

by: Esteban On  Monday, April 22, 2013



In case you just haven’t gotten enough coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and the fallout, we’ve got some good news and bad news. Bad news first: This is a list of nine tributes to the tragedy and its victims, so if you’re sick of the coverage, or want to take a break from the constant reminders of sadness and suffering, that’s completely understandable.

However, if you are inclined to witness the outreach, and remember along with the participants of these tributes, then this might serve you well. Among many other groups, the sporting world has taken to heart the effects and fallout from Monday afternoon, and though the perpetrators appear to be caught, a cloud will continue to loom at sporting events, knowing that they have once and will continue again to appear on the hit list of terrorists looking not only to maximize human suffering, but maximize the spectacle of it as well.

In the wake of the events, many, especially in the world of sports, seek closure and comfort. And though you can debate the efficacy of the saturation of coverage, as benevolent as it is, many are touched by the gestures that have been made over the past week.

Here are nine that we feel do as much justice as possible to the victims and heroes of Patriots Day 2013 in Boston. Rather than offer up out own interpretations of how or why we feel these were picked, we’ll simply give a little back story, and leave any further interpretations to our readers.

9. The Celtics-Knicks Game Honors Boston

Let’s kick things off with the most high-profile sporting event of the week, irrespective of the tragic fallout. Sure, these teams haven’t exactly been juggernauts this season, but when Boston and New York meet in the playoffs of most any sport, the nation watches. Add in the drama and exhaustion of the events of the past week, including the tragedy in West, Texas, and it felt as though America, after the inundation of news reports and forced sentiment, were actually turning to sport as a distraction rather than as a way to refocus on that which still aches. The game was played, and the Celtics lost. As they should have, because the Knicks are a better team. But six days later, the fanfare had passed, and while New York proved to be a gracious host in remembering, perhaps the most welcome thing they could have done was briefly look back, then give the folks a good basketball game. It had been six days and countless tributes. The teams somberly nodded their head to the event in the pregame, then got back to basketball as usual. And we got that.

8. Boston Red Sox Tearful National Anthem


It wasn’t exactly a surprise, but when the Red Sox came home to play, the national anthem managed to move the team, the city, and most of the nation that was watching. There wasn’t too much special about it, save for the fact that it was the first time the city got to get back to business as usual, and the national anthem forced everyone to look back on a week that I’m sure they would have liked to forget. At least for the duration of the game.

7. Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline

The Boston Red Sox have, for better or worse, taken ownership of this song, using it as a de facto team anthem. In a tip of the hat reminiscent of when Paul Simon took to the outfield of Yankee Stadium to sing “Mrs. Robinson” following the death of Joe DiMaggio, Mr. Forever in Blue Jeans stepped onto the field in decidedly unglamorous fashion to sing the Unofficial Sox anthem. This gesture demonstrated that while many, many, many of us might not be Red Sox fans, the people of Boston were far more important than any baseball game. Yes, even a Yankees game.

6. Bill Iffig, the 78 Year-Old Who Was Knocked Down by the Bomb and Finished the Race


While a well-organized tribute on a large scale is a nice gesture, it lacks the spontaneity and resonance of the act of a single person or the few. For instance, when an 78 year-old man named Bill Iffig was knocked over by the blast, he picked himself up, then continued on to finish the damn thing. The man wasn’t pandering, he wasn’t making a sensational statement about his selflessness, or patting himself on the back for his compassion. The guy had run 26.1 miles and was going to be goddamned if he wasn’t going to run the last tenth, bomb or not. There’s no indication he was trying to serve as an inspiration or an icon. Some terrorists tried to stop this guy from his pursuit, and he wasn’t having any of it. Carries a lot more resonance and sincerity than anything a PR firm could come up with on short notice.

5. The Dropkick Murphys T-Shirt Sales


While the Dropkick Murphys aren’t exactly athletes, it’s impossible to extricate the Irish Boston punk band from the stadium experiences in New England. They’ve covered “Tessie” for the Sox, performed “Nutty (The Bruins Theme)” at their legendary St. Patrick’s Day concerts, and just try going to a Celts game without “I’m Shipping Up to Boston.” It’s impossible. Can’t be done. Well, in the spirit of the charity exercised by so many other Boston institutions, the Dropkick Murphys have put up for sale on their site and at their shows a t-shirt that simply says, “For Boston” with a simple graphic of the skyline. As of Friday, they had raised over $70,000, encouraging fans from around the world to wear them to sporting events to get the word out. What’s makes the money raised even more impressive is the fact that the shirt might be the ugliest article of clothing ever produced. Oh well. The band’s not keeping a dime so spend away.

4. The Married Yankees-Red Sox Logo

Yankees Sox logo

Whoa. For those who thought we’d see an extinction-level-event before we saw the consolidation of the two most adversarial franchises in all of North American sport. (Don’t argue. That’s right.), they can be pleasantly surprised that the differences of seemingly trivial sport in the name of comfort and compassion. While we would expect this sort of demonstration from decent human beings, it’s been the experience of many sports fans over the past 100 years that “decent human beings” doesn’t necessarily apply to those involved in this blood feud. Nice to be proven wrong.

3. London Marathon’s Moment of Silence


While our nation grieved as we lost some of our own, compatriots in London took a moment of silence before this week’s marathon to honor and commemorate the fallen. Britain and the US have a longstanding political and cultural alliance, but it’s a safe bet that the camaraderie shared by fellow marathon runners may have been the most compelling connection between the two parties an ocean away.

2. David Ortiz’s F-Bomb Speech


In typical fashion, Papi spoke from the heart when speaking to the people of Boston. In typical Boston fashion, he managed to drop an f-bomb during a reverential moment. No one seemed to mind, everyone understood, and some people appreciated the honesty.

1. The Sabres-Bruins National Anthem

It was the first sporting event in Boston since Monday’s terrifying marathon. No one really knew what to do, so it would appeared they stood proud and emoted. There was anger, there was sadness, and there was confusion among the crowd, but the pride in singing seemed to overshadow it all. If things get easier after time passes, then this must have been the toughest tribute of all.