Columnists, Sports

Indirect Kick: What Does Patriots’ Day Mean for Boston Sports?

Boston … birthplace of the American Revolution. The city commemorates the heroics of all American patriots on one Monday in April, fittingly called Patriots’ Day. Patriots’ Day is a civic holiday when Bostonians head into the city for sports, the way this city communicates.

Every citizen knows, on Patriots’ Day, the Boston Red Sox suit up and play at 11 a.m., the Boston Bruins or Boston Celtics are usually in the playoffs, and the coup de grâce, an event in which all runners dream to participate, the Boston Marathon, takes place.

Stretching from Hopkinton, a small town in central Massachusetts near Worcester, all the way to downtown Boston, the annual race is attended and revered by hundreds of thousands of spectators throughout the world. It has become part of Boston’s and the Patriots’ Day holiday’s identities.

In 2013, the city of Boston experienced one of its darkest hours when two bombs exploded near the Boston Marathon finish line, killing three and wounding 264 others. Despite the crippling attack on the city’s most popular sporting event, Boston banded together and became Boston Stronger following the capturing of the suspects.

That very same day, Mike Napoli hit a walk-off double for the Red Sox to give them a victory about an hour before the tragedy occurred only a mile away. The team, starting on Patriots’ Day, banded together and won the 2013 World Series.

The Bruins, scheduled to play that night, had their game postponed and became the city’s first sporting event since the bombings occurred when they played on the following Wednesday. Bostonians in attendance were overwhelmed with patriotism and took over for legendary anthem singer Rene Rancourt in singing the “Star Spangled Banner.”

When the Red Sox returned home to face the Royals, David Ortiz addressed the crowd with his expletive, yet rallying speech. It was from this point: Bostonians knew they would be OK and that Boston was their [expletive] city once more.

Many outsiders felt sympathy for Boston and banded together with the city. Bostonians were upset but motivated and willing to overcome this tragedy and carry on — Boston Strong. The city did just that. With the exception of increased security, nothing was different.

The 2014 Marathon went as scheduled and to make the event even more special and memorable, an American, Meb Keflezighi, won the Men’s Elite Race. The Red Sox lost that day to the Orioles, but wore special jerseys with the word BOSTON on the front to remind the city to stay strong.

There is still something outsiders seem not to understand about Boston and its sports teams. How special are they exactly?

Well put it this way … in Boston, people worship, in order, Tom Brady, Big Papi David Ortiz and God. Yes, that’s how important it is here. Pedro Martinez even said that winning a championship in Boston is so special that one title here is worth three anywhere else.

Despite the recent run of success with championships coming almost annually here, Boston fans don’t get selfish or satisfied. They want more and more titles and they will cherish them more and more as the city’s trophy total adds up.

Patriots’ Day is just the cherry on top (excuse the cliché). On the third Monday in April every year, the city crowns four champions and celebrates the tradition of freedom, strength and patriotism.

Once a year, the entire city, people of all ages, can come together for the one event that makes this city so special. Runners from across the globe understand the privilege of running in the marathon, and the city of Boston embraces every runner who crosses that finish line as if they lived there too.

So what does Patriots’ Day mean for Boston sports?

It signifies a day to be proud and honored to don the jersey with BOSTON on the front. The fans deify athletes here, and despite the 2013 bombings, the city got even stronger and more resilient. It means coming together to honor the real patriots, as athletes join with fans to pay respects and honor those who have lain or still lay their lives on the line every day.

On Patriots’ Day, athletes take the field and play for the city that worships them. On the streets of Massachusetts, runners participate in the most venerable race in the world, and Bostonians embrace them and will them to finish the race.

The character of this city has surpassed the test of the 2013 bombings to become even more Boston Strong. The citizens of Boston have remained resilient, and Patriots’ Day gives the city a chance to show their pride as well as watch the local sports teams represent the city so proudly.

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Daniel Shulman is a sophomore at Boston University majoring in Journalism through the College of Communication. A native of Stoughton, Dan is a sports fanatic who loves everything Boston sports related. He is currently a Sports Hawk at the Boston Globe in the High School sports department. He is also a statistician for both Men’s and Women’s Soccer and Men’s Ice Hockey. Aside from writing, Dan has an interest in music, movies and cooking.

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