Tuesday night, I actually forgot the Boston Red Sox had a ballgame. It was completely out of character, but also completely understandable.
As a Bostonian far from home, my thoughts the last two days have been dominated by the horrific events that took place Monday at the marathon finish line. I grew up a few blocks from Heartbreak Hill and have been cheering on friends and strangers in this great race all my life. More times than I can count, I've thought of running it myself.
Now, like New Yorkers who can never completely separate themselves from the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, those of us who love the Boston Marathon will be forced to make room in our memories for what transpired this week. We will cheer again, but there will always be sadness and fear ready to creep in.
I learned about what happened like most people—in bits and pieces. It was just after 3 p.m. on Monday afternoon when I signed onto my iPhone for a brief look at the Red Sox and marathon results. Vacationing with my family in Washington, D.C., I needed a quick fix of the Patriot's Day fun we were missing.
On Boston.com, along with details of a Sox victory over the Tampa Bay Rays and the men's and women's marathon winners, there was a small account of "loud noises" at the race's Copley Square finish line. I didn't think much of it, and only mentioned it briefly to my wife and brother while in line with our kids waiting to enter the Museum of American History.
I was curious enough to check my phone again a few minutes later, however, by which point the game and race had been knocked from the online headlines by the horrors unfolding on Boylston Street. Trying to stay composed for the sake of the two eight-year-olds in our party, the adults took turns swapping phones during the next two-plus hours as the news grew increasingly grim.
By the time we left the museum at 5:30 p.m., there were sirens sounding through the streets as Washington went into a semi-lockdown mode. We had plans to meet an old friend for dinner that night but wound up staying in and ordering pizza; transfixed by the footage and eyewitness accounts on CNN, we forced ourselves to switch over to pay-per-view and the silly diversion of Here Comes the Boom. It was nice to laugh along with the kids.
Now, after more than 36 hours of Copley Square coverage, I am trying to get myself focused back on the Red Sox—both as an additional escape and to help fill the pages of Fenway Reflections. I'll be back home tomorrow and will be starting a regular weekly column with odds and ends about the team.
It's clear Red Sox Nation is ready to cheer again even while the crying goes on. Tuesday afternoon, my wife saw online that "Sweet Caroline" would be played that night at Yankee Stadium during New York's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Then she read me one of the comments beneath the story, and I had another welcome laugh.
"Nice thought," the reader mentioned, "but the Yankees still suck."
Saul Wisnia lives less than seven miles from Fenway Park and works 300 yards from Yawkey Way. His latest book, Fenway Park: The Centennial, is available at http://amzn.to/qWjQRS, and his Fenway Reflections can be found at http://saulwisnia.blogspot.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and @saulwizz.