From tragedy and terror and incomprehensible grief, came this bit of positive news: “The best way of dealing with this is to get out on the streets to show solidarity with the people in Boston, to celebrate a fantastic marathon and send out a very clear message to those responsible we won’t be cowed by this kind of behavior.”
The comments arrived from far away, from British sports minister Hugh Robertson, in announcing that the London Marathon will run as scheduled Sunday, that the bombing that killed three people and wounded more than 170 Monday in Boston wouldn’t and shouldn’t shake the resolve of those set to compete against the clock across the pond.
A similar reaction came from other points of the globe, domestic and foreign. Races, games, festivals, celebrations would all go on, because the idea that we shouldn’t allow fear to rule our lives is appropriate and significant today.
It’s the only way to respond.
There is no instruction manual from which to seek guidance when it comes to seeing the smiling, innocent face of 8-year-old Martin Richard, one of those killed near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Martin reportedly had just hugged his father and marathoner, Bill, when the first bomb exploded. Martin’s sister, just 6, lost a leg. His mother suffered a serious brain injury.
There is no textbook, no sensible means of preparation to accept such a senseless moment in time.
So we pray and go on and not allow sick perpetrators to influence our actions. Such attacks by nature are aimed specifically at destroying the structure of our daily lives. They are random acts by demented minds, rare in occurrence and yet often impossible to forecast and interrupt before the terror finds us.
You look out for the welfare of those most affected. You counsel and grieve with them. But you also make sure those responsible for such a terrible situation do not continue to control your every thought and activity.
I hope next year’s Boston Marathon sets records for those competing and attending. I hope it is the greatest race in a history that dates to 1897. I hope the only heartbreak we hear about is that famous hill over a four-tenths of a mile stretch near Boston College, the last of those challenging ascents that arrives at a time when one’s glycogen levels are dipping and many hit the wall of exhaustion.
Give us another Rosie Ruiz scandal.
Anything but this.
The good news for Boston is, passion and perseverance are traits by which such horror is often overcome.
And it is a town coated in both.
There might not be a better place to turn today than the power of sport for a city defined by its love for the home teams.
Sport has known to heal in such miserable times. The attacks of 9/11. Hurricane Katrina. The shootings at Virginia Tech.
Sports matter when it comes to recovering and moving forward.
Not in an overly impactful way. Not in any manner that will lessen the pain or erase the memories or bring little Martin Richard back to his family. But in a way that, for a few hours here and there, many can escape the misery.
Sports can temporarily replace the face of evil. There is a spirit to them, a sense of normalcy. They unite and inspire us.
The lasting vision of the Boston Marathon should not be bombs and chaos and death. It should be that of Dick Hoyt, pushing his son Rick in a wheelchair through the course for the 31st time Monday, the son he and his wife were told should have been institutionalized as an infant.
Pushing him through a course hours after a life-sized bronze statue of the two was unveiled near the starting line. The Hoyts didn’t finish Monday. They had reached the 25-mile mark when the bombs exploded.
“The thing about the Boston Marathon is that it’s always such a joyful day,” Dick told reporters. “Everybody’s so happy, and it’s such a positive attitude. And then to have this happen? … What kind of a world are we living in nowadays?
“If anything, we want to run the marathon next year to honor those people who were killed or injured this year. … We just have to move forward.
“We can’t let something like this stop us.”
From tragedy and terror and incomprehensible grief, comes such wise and important words.
So they will run in London on Sunday, and that is a good thing.
It is the only way to respond.
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4618. He can be heard from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on “Gridlock,” ESPN 1100 and 98.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter: @edgraney.