Boston Strong (4/25/13)

The crowd walking around Mirror Lake in Lake Placid


Commemorating the Battles of Lexington and Concord and historically observed on the third Monday of April, Patriots’ Day, is Massachusetts’ most anticipated civic holiday. The running of ‘The Boston’ is Patriots’ Day’s marquee event, where thousands of the world’s best endurance athletes vie for their spot in sporting history. First run in 1897, the Boston Marathon is one of the world’s most recognized and prestigious road races.

Growing up just north of Boston, Marathon Monday was always a highly anticipated holiday. As a child, my father, brothers and I would ride our bicycles into the city to more easily maneuver through the crowds of enthusiastic spectators. As a young adult, this tradition continued. Every year, my Northeastern University teammates and I would make the short walk across Massachusetts Avenue to Boylston Street to partake in a notoriously joyful, celebratory day.

This year Patriots’ Day/Marathon Monday and my birthday coincided. Although I was unable to attend the marathon due to training constraints, I spent the entirety of Sunday, April 14, at home in Boston with my family. Sunday afternoon, a teammate and I drove into the city to walk across the Boston Marathon finish line. My teammate, Caleb, had never done so. As we stood at the finish line, we could both envision the throngs of enthusiastic spectators that, in a day’s time, would urge the determined runners across the finish line and greet them on the other side.

On Monday, April 15, I chose to watch the Boston Marathon from the weight room at the OTC in Lake Placid, N.Y. I was in the middle of a lift when I saw the explosions. I do not know that words can adequately describe what I felt at the moment. I was simultaneously furious, worried and heartbroken. Furious that anyone could endeavor to hurt so many innocent people; worried that one of the many people I know and care about in Boston might have gotten hurt; heartbroken for the victims, their families and the city I call home. I have found every attack on our nation incomprehensible. The Boston Marathon bombings were not only incomprehensible; they were also exceedingly personal as many of the victims, like my family and I, are Bostonians. My heart goes out to those affected.

I am a patriotic American, a United States Olympian and a life-long Bostonian. I am proud and privileged to wear the red, white and blue and know that in doing so I am representing my country, my family, myself and my community.

My brother Chris, me and our teammate Caleb Pelger at the
Lake Placid Boston Tribute Walk

When I think of Boston, I think of the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins. I think of Paul Revere, Fanueil Hall, Quincy Market, the Constitution, the Freedom Trail and the humble beginnings of the country we love. I recall memories of skating on the Frog Pond in the winter, shopping on Newbury Street in the spring, the sight of the Swan Boats during the summer months and New England’s unmatched foliage in the fall. I start salivating at the thought of fresh oysters from the harbor and reminiscing of my college days at Northeastern. I remember weekend trips to the Museum of Fine Arts, the Gardner Museum, the Aquarium and the Omni Theatre at the Museum of Science. I remember rocking out to Aerosmith and watching Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in Good Will Hunting, which quickly became a Bay State favorite. 

Most of all, when I think of Boston, I feel pride, for Boston is far more than just the sum of its sports teams and rich history. What makes Boston so special is its residents. Bostonians are tough, patriotic, proud and resilient. Times of tragedy tend to bring people closer together and for Boston, the marathon bombings will be no different. In the face of adversity our true colors historically shine through. As we have proven time and time again, we will come back stronger.