Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sport as Faith, and a Stream of Consciousness Study

photo from Tuesday, Bunker Hill Monument 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How do I talk about sports without sounding sacrilegious   Or, worse, trite?

Sports are special.  They can act a lot like faith.  They require sacrifice.  Their pursuit can be deeply personal.  They are not always easily understood by those outside.  Whether you're really good, or just really trying, they can be truly transcendent.

They require and bless the participant with a true communion with the body, which, if you believe, as I do, that our bodies are gifts from God, is true communion with our Maker.

In sport we rise above the sloppy stuff, the political, the complicated, the petty.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Like a lot of us, I took the bombing last Monday pretty hard.  I was shaken for three people killed, and the many people hurt.  For the runners whose experience will be forever tainted by this event.  For the people who never got to finish this important race.  For those who may not know, you don't just sign up for the Boston marathon.  You must qualify, by running another marathon, with an insanely fast time.  So those people running worked long and hard for that privilege and, even in the midst of so much chaos, I thought of that disappointment   This sounds callous, but it's not.  At least, I hope not.  I hope it's just me experiencing the many, many layers of the events.

I went to the dentist Tuesday morning, and they have a tv positioned directly over the chair, so I could watch while my teeth were cleaned.  There was no sound, and seemingly no new information, so they just kept showing the same loop of footage over and over.  The shots were from right after the explosions.  Nothing graphic, just people scrambling around.  There was one shot of a few people helping someone on the ground.  I noticed a few men without their shirts or just wearing undershirts.  They didn't look like runners, and it took watching the footage a few times to realize that they had simply pulled their shirts off to steam blood.  There were men rushing around, their shirts in hand, trying to find someone to help.  It's this image that I keep coming back to.

Later that afternoon we went to Bunker Hill.  It was fairly quiet.  Most of the tourists were runners, wearing their marathon jackets.  There's a long set of stairs leading up to the monument, and we were lounging in the grass at the top.  I've never seen so many fit, fast-looking people have such a hard time with a set of stairs.

The end of the week was simply surreal.  We are a town over from Watertown and were not locked down, though we were urged to, as they say, "shelter in place".  After a hurricane and a few serious blizzards, I'm starting to loose track of how many times we've been urged to do just that.  James worked from home, and I ran the errands I had planned for the day.  But it was quiet, everyone seemed distracted.

James and I listened to the live stream from WBUR, Boston's public radio station, all day, which was exhausting   But I couldn't turn it off.  I can't remember the last news event I paid attention to with such fervor   I'm usually fairly skilled at disengagement.  But I just kept turning the events over in my head.  The man who woke, after a double amputation, and scrawled out that he had seen the man who dropped the backpack.  Had looked right into his eyes.

I kept thinking about the boy his high school friends were describing--fun and carefree, well-adjusted--and just wondered what could have possibly happened to change that.  And I kept wondering why I was so worried about this kid, praying so hard for mercy for him, when he had done such terrible things.  I do not have an answer for any of these questions.  Particularly that last one.

I'd like to think that, once again, I'm just seeing these events in layers.


  1. Thank you for this post. These things affect me to where I think part of me downplays the reality of it all until I can handle dealing with details. These were the details I was ready for.

    Isn't it strange, the welling up of humanity for those who have not shown it?

  2. here's the thing, I felt hopelessly sad for the boy, and I'm not sure why either. Maybe because he was so young? No, that can't be. Usually individuals who do such awful things, old or young (all the school shootings) are just abhorent to me, and I am glad when they are caught and justice is served, but for some reason, this time around, I felt so sad for him, I too wondered about what happened, and hoped against all reason he was somehow not guilty. Not sure why. I still feel that way. I can't shake it. Hmmmm....

  3. I felt so sad for this boy, too. I keep thinking about him hiding, hurt, in a boat with the world looking for him and a dead big brother. I can't shake it either.