As expected, the pregame ceremony at TD Garden before the Boston Bruins took on the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night was incredibly emotional. One of the highlights of the ceremony was when Bruins National Anthem singer Rene Rancourt, who is as much a legend in Boston as Bobby Orr, got things started with the National Anthem before letting the packed house of 18,000 fans take over.
A video montage shown on the arena videoboard before the puck dropped paid tribute to those who lost their lives or were affected by the tragic events that took place at the Boston Marathon on Monday.
Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand is the latest athlete to come up with an idea to raise money for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. The family of Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy who was one of three people killed in the blast, said Martin loved the Bruins. A photo of Martin in Bruins gear at TD Garden began circulating the internet after word of his tragic death became official.
According to the Boston Bruins’ official Twitter account, Marchand has decided to raffle off a suite to the team’s first playoff home game, with the proceeds going to the Richard family. The bidding is currently underway on the Bruins raffle website.
“Our whole team saw the photos of Martin at our game from last Thursday and learned that he and his family are big fans of ours,” Marchand said. “This is just one small gesture which I hope can help the Richard family during this incredibly sad time for them.”
Marchand is one of many athletes who have tried to do their part to help the healing process for the victims, their loved ones and the people who were affected by the event. New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola has already pledged money to relief funds for each pass he catches and drops next season. Hopefully the great ideas for raising money keep rolling in.
Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon is known for being pretty loose-lipped, but he used to play for the Boston Red Sox. Because of that, reporters had to get his take on the tragic events that took place at the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon.
Like most before him, Papelbon talked about what an awful situation it is for the victims and their families to deal with. However, he also took the opportunity to talk about player safety and gun rights.
“The Phillies did a thing the other day here for us on opening day where we walked through the crowd,” Papelbon said. “I know when I was there in Boston we came down through the bleachers for one opening game. I don’t feel comfortable doing that. I really truly don’t. Today’s day and age has gotten so crazy.
“All this stuff going on and, shoot, (Barack) Obama wants to take our guns from us and everything,” he continued. “And you’ve got this stuff going on? It’s just a little bit insane for me.”
Where should we start? First of all, Monday’s attack was not an attack on celebrities or professional athletes with a higher social standing than the rest of us. I understand Papelbon’s concern about making his way through crowds as a public figure, but the Boston Marathon bombings were an attack on the “common” people, for lack of a better term.
Secondly, professional athletes and people with a large following should be doing their best to lend support and help those affected heal as best they can — not using the event as an avenue to discuss your personal political beliefs regarding gun rights. And as a side note, how would someone with a gun have stopped what took place on Monday?
As cliche as it may sound, there is a time and a place for everything. The day after the tragedy is a time for rivals to band together and players to write heartfelt messages on their equipment. Papelbon was out of line to talk about the safety of MLB players and his views on gun laws.
The New York Yankees more than put aside their rivalry with the Boston Red Sox to support the city in the wake of Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings. A banner hanging in front of Yankee Stadium displayed a message that said, “United We Stand,” in between logos of the Red Sox and Yankees. The Yankees also played “Sweet Caroline” after the third inning of Tuesday’s 4-2 win over the Diamondbacks, and they held a moment of silence.
“Sweet Caroline” has been played during the eighth inning of Red Sox games since 2008. Song performer and writer Neil Diamond was appreciative of New York’s gesture:
Thank you NY Yankees for playing ‘Sweet Caroline’ for the people of Boston. You scored a home run in my heart. With respect, Neil #OneBoston
Marine Brandon O’Brien, who is no longer serving in active duty, has spent most of the winter working out in hopes of carving out a career for himself in the NFL. The 30-year-old walked on to the Kentucky football team in 2000 before financial problems at home forced him to quit the team. He then enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2005.
According to Yahoo! Sports, O’Brien — a wide receiver — enrolled at Montana State Northern University after serving. He set school records for receiving touchdowns in a season, receiving yards in a game and touchdowns in a game. O’Brien participated in the NFL’s Regional Combine in Houston on Feb. 16 and at Montana State Northern’s Pro Day on March 18. He was hoping to catch the attention of an NFL team as a special teamer, but the terrible tragedy that took place at the Boston Marathon on Monday has apparently changed his plans.
On Tuesday, NFL.com’s Andy Fenelon reported that O’Brien has reenlisted in the Marines because of the bombing that took place on Monday. Fenelon said that O’Brien’s agent, Brad Berkowitz, said the attack in Boston “left a big hole in his heart.”
It goes without saying that people like O’Brien are the true heros we have in the world. Many little kids dream of playing in the NFL and making a career out of it. Few have visions of serving in the military and protecting their country for a living. Without people like Brandon O’Brien, the United States could never be a safe nation.
UPDATE: Brian Skinnel of Beyond Sports Network has pointed out to LBS that he conducted an exclusive interview with O’Brien during which he said his decision to reenlist has nothing to do with the Boston Marathon bombing. He has not yet reenlisted in the military but says he decided to give up football before the tragedy that took place on Monday.
“Those reports are absolutely false,” O’Brien told Skinnel. “First off, me deciding to go back into the military has nothing to do with the Boston bombings and, furthermore, I have not yet reenlisted in the Marines.
“I did some soul searching and realized that I was put here to help people and not play professional football. The military is a passion of mine and it is something I hold close to my heart and love to be a part of.”
Sounds like a bit of sensationalism from someone, whether it be O’Brien’s agent or another person.
We have already shown you a number of tributes professional sports organizations and athletes have put on display to show their support for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and we’re starting to see similar tributes at the lower levels as well. The entire nation has felt the sting of the horrific events that took place on Monday afternoon, and many athletes and teams are trying to do their part to help in any way they can.
As you can see from the photo above that the Louisville baseball team tweeted, the Cardinals will be wearing Patriotic uniforms for their game against Kentucky on Tuesday night.
The annual London Marathon is scheduled to take place on Sunday, and as you might expect there are a number of concerns surrounding the event now given the tragedy that unfolded at the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon. Despite the attack, British sports minister Hugh Robertson said Great Britain “won’t be cowered by this sort of behavior” and will proceed with its race as scheduled.
With the event set to go off as planned, a British running organization called SPAT (Social Purpose And Time) has been using social media to urge runners to pay tribute to those who were affected by the Boston Marathon bombing by crossing the finish line with their hands over their hearts. The hashtag #handsoverhearts is being used to promote the movement.
The response to the campaign has already been overwhelmingly positive, with hundreds of tweets and retweets circulating the internet. Lucy MacNamara, who is running the London Marathon for New Horizons Youth Center (which partners with SPAT), was one of the people who came up with the idea.
“What happened in Boston was just so horrible and we wanted to try and make a positive statement from such a negative event,” MacNamara told The Huffington Post UK on Tuesday. “We wanted to make a statement of solidarity with those in Boston. I’m really happy it’s taken off in the way it has.”
The London Marathon typically attracts around 500,000 spectators, and I’m sure security will be heightened in the wake of what happened in Boston. Hopefully all the runners partake in the hands over hearts movement, as the incredible displays of support that have already been pouring in have undoubtedly helped the healing process.
Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle is known for having a pretty good sense of humor. The 26-year-old was supposedly at the center of the whole championship belt thing the Coyotes have going on with their player of the game this year. Like most others, Yandle was not in a very jolly mood on Monday following the Boston Marathon bombings.
As you can see from the photo above that Hockey Lifestyle passed along, Yandle paid tribute to the city of Boston on Monday night by writing “pray for Boston” across the bottom of each side of his skate. It was a similar gesture to the one we saw from Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Ben Revere, who wrote the same words across his glove.
Yandle is a native of Massachusetts and has Boston listed as his hometown on most of his online profiles. Almost the entire nation is feeling the sting of the cowardly terrorist attack, but those with ties to Boston can’t help but feel it a little bit more.
Monday should have been one of the greatest days of Oakland A’s first baseman Nate Freiman’s life. Very few moments of a professional baseball player’s career are more rewarding than blasting your first big league home run. As a Boston native, however, Freiman was feeling the sting of the tragedy that took place at the Boston Marathon earlier in the day.
Freiman grew up near the route of the Boston Marathon and still has family living in the city. He blasted the first home run of his career — a three-run shot in the first inning against the Houston Astros — on Monday night, but he later said the moment was difficult to enjoy.
“It was bittersweet,” the 26-year-old told The Oakland Tribune. “I grew up about the halfway point of the marathon. Every Patriot’s Day we used to go out there and watch the runners.
“It was a great night here. But Boston is in our prayers.”
Having grown up 15 minutes north of Boston and been to the annual 11 a.m. Red Sox game on Patriot’s Day in the past, I know how much the day means to the city of Boston. The Boston Marathon is one of the greatest races in the world and Patriot’s Day is one of the best celebrations of the year for Bostonians and people living in the surrounding area. The fact that the event has been scarred by such a disgusting act makes me legitimately sick to my stomach. I’m sure that’s something similar to what Freiman and countless others are feeling.
With every moment that passes in the wake of Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings, we realize the extent to which a tragic event like this transcends the entire sports world. Rivalries have been put aside and the outcome of games seems to matter much less as the entire country tries to band together and support the city of Boston.
On Tuesday morning, the sports section of the Chicago Tribune paid tribute to Boston with a particularly powerful image:
It’s important for people to carry on living their lives at a time like this, but gestures like the one the Tribune made help the healing process. As I’m sure the victims and their families would tell you, there can never be too much support. Between messages on baseball gloves and unique ways to donate money to the relief fund, the support has already been overwhelming.