This is what has inspired me to finally speak on the subject of what happened to my city – not the acts of terror enacted upon one of the roads I once skipped school to hang out on, but the article of another Bostonian, complaining about the efforts of locals and others alike to express hometown pride and hope.
The Chicago Tribune posted this on the cover of their Sports Section. The above article described this as ‘cringe-worthy.’
In his mind it was cringe-worthy that a paper’s sports section “reduced us” to a quartet of sports teams. Or that all over Facebook, an image of the four mascots of our hometown teams with the words, “You messed with the wrong city” emblazoned on it were also embarrassing. As though the city and those posting said picture are declaring themselves ready to go to war once the person responsible is discovered (and let’s be honest, we most likely are). He also states that talking up Boston’s ilk as though we are somehow better than, or more than, or tougher than any other town is ridiculous. He even mentions in the article that many have told him to settle down and let people grieve in their own way, which is my comment exactly, but I expand upon that.
We ARE a tough town. Plain and simple. Simply watch the footage of the bombing and the aftermath and you will see Police screaming out “somebody’s gotta be hurt back there!” followed by a deluge of people, uniformed and civilian alike, running TOWARD the chaos to help, in whatever way they could. Untrained civilians may have saved lives because in the absence of paramedics, they did all they could think of to help the injured – tried to get them out of danger and tried to stop the bleeding, despite a scene that most only see in war.
Could these acts happen in any other city? Yes, of course they could. Look at the aftermath of 9/11 – an event that many New England area firefighters and nurses flocked to just as New Yorkers did. We all wanted to help, in whatever way we could. The point is not that Boston is somehow better, the notion is that Boston is NOT a lay down and die kind of town. And more importantly, despite what this writer might want you to think, when the average out of towner thinks of Boston, they don’t think of southern hospitality and quaint charm. They don’t even think of Sam Adams and Clam Chowder. They think of Boondock Saints, Gay Marriage, The Depahted, bad attitudes, Masshole drivers, and pahkin theiya cah in hahvahd yahd – they think of rough and tumble people who stand their goddamn ground, and they’re not wrong.
I was sobbing when I saw this picture.
My thoughts were still – “I hate you Yankee bastards. Especially now that you’re making me cry!” but still, I was moved beyond words.
And it isn’t because I have been reduced to a sports fan and nothing more by the sentiment, it is because whether or not we care to admit it, many the world over only know us by our symbols – our mascots, our cityscape, our stereotypes. Bears’ fans hate the Pats, Yankees’ fans hate the Sox, Lakers’ fans hate the Celtics, and fucking everyone hates the Bruins. That is what we represent to much of the country, unless they’ve set foot here, and that is why those symbols are the easiest and most meaningful to reach for in moments like this. It’s the equivalent of the world saying, “today, I want your team to win.”
And then we have the people who HAVE actually set foot here, who have walked our streets and met with our attitude and our cab drivers and our utter disdain for our fellow man, and met with the soft side that hides beneath that rough exterior. We are the grumpy ass uncle that sends you money when you need it. We might come across as brash and rowdy, but we still run towards the wounded when all hell breaks loose, or run to the hospital to give blood, and that is our true spirit. For anyone this world over, if you wish to use an image of the Bruins’ Bear or the minuteman to declare your solidarity to me, my people, and my city, then you go right ahead, because we needed it these past two days, and it means the world to us.