Ten Years Later, Boston is Stronger
City’s Spirit of Resilience Grows with Time
For those of us from the Boston area, April 15, 2013, lives vividly in our memories. With schools closed on Patriots’ Day, the official state holiday commemorating the battles of Lexington and Concord, early risers assemble on Lexington Green to catch a view of the reenactments, and then crowds flock to the streets from Hopkinton to Boston to watch the Boston Marathon. The Red Sox always play at home on Patriots’ Day, as runners make the final gritty push past Fenway Park into the heart of the city.
Sunshine blanketed Boston and the heat felt more like July than April. On a picturesque New England day, without a cloud in the sky, our entire community cheered on family, friends, and strangers as they trotted through my hometown of Natick. As a fourth grader, everything about that day, from the sun to the community to the baseball and the history, was truly perfect in my eyes. Best of all was the larger-than-life Boston Marathon, an event I knew as an exciting, dependable, and seemingly indestructible part of life growing up. Until it wasn’t.
In the years that have followed the Boston Marathon bombing, I, like many others in the Greater Boston area, have returned to that day many times. The contrasting feelings of blissful joy turned to confusion, then horror, and despair that will stay with us forever when we recall April 15, 2013. As the city and the surrounding area locked down for days during the ensuing manhunt, the Boston Strong campaign was just getting started and the Red Sox made it a point to play baseball on April 20, five days after the attack. In what is now an iconic pregame ceremony speech honoring victims and first responders, Red Sox legend David Ortiz, “Big Papi,” declared that “this is our f*cking city. Nobody is going to dictate our freedom.” To my ten-year-old ears, that was pretty much the greatest thing I had ever heard. Papi’s speech has resonated with the community throughout the years, speaking to the resilience of the Greater Boston area.
During the aftermath of the tragedy, the strength of Boston and of its people was on full display, from the spectators and public safety officials who ran towards danger to help in the seconds after the attack, to the outpouring of financial support for the One Fund, a charity that was arranged to assist survivors. Even as a fourth grader, I was processing and internalizing this spirit, the timeless spirit of Boston, that those who sought to knock us down through cowardly acts of terror only revealed further strength.
Stephen Colbert summed it up nicely on his show the day after the marathon, saying: “These maniacs may have tried to make life bad for the people of Boston, but all they can ever do is show how good those people are.” Nothing could be more true. Now, ten years later, Patriots’ Day holds a reflective and proud meaning for people in Massachusetts and around the country.
Time has passed and our lives have changed since that week in 2013, but the spirit of Boston, the spirit of steadfast revolutionaries and hardworking immigrants, of valiant heroes and inspirational survivors, remains constant in the face of history. Bostonians have a reputation for being proud, but nothing makes me prouder than experiencing how the city, the Commonwealth, the country, and the world came together to rally and look out for neighbors and strangers alike following what is undoubtedly the hardest chapter in the modern history of Boston. A decade after the unthinkable, Boston has time and again shown itself to be a resilient city, its people turning to each other for support instead of turning on each other. It is full of people who wear their hearts on their sleeves, but who never back down from defending their own. It is full of people who have stared terror in the face and have emerged more united than ever, prouder than ever. They are people who truly define what it means to be Boston Strong.
Providence College Investigates: Pro Sports
What Is the Best Sports City in the United States?
Justin Bishop ’24
Everyone knows which city is the greatest sports city in the world: Boston. This city is known for countless championships in hockey, basketball, football, and most recently, baseball.
In combinations ranging from red, white, and blue to black and gold to green and white, these colors represent everything to the people of this city.
Boston is the greatest sports city in the world and that is a fact. The Bruins, Celtics, Patriots, and Red Sox organizations represent greatness and what it means to win. Since 2000, Boston has won 12 championship trophies and has been the only city to have a championship trophy in all four major sports (baseball, basketball, football, hockey).
The New England Revolution, who recently have been on a tear in the MLS are among the teams not in the spotlight in Boston as much as the four major sports teams.
Other notable teams outside the four major sports in Boston include: the Boston Pride in the National Women’s Hockey League and the Boston Cannons, the only Major League Lacrosse team to be added to the new Premier Lacrosse League.
The Red Sox are the only team in the MLB to win four World Series in the new millennia. The Sox are a trivial part of the city of Boston. Fenway Park, the Curse of the Great Bambino, Ted Williams, 1999 All Star Game, 2004 World Series Champions, and the 2013 World Series Champions for the Boston Marathon victims are all moments that carry gravity with the people who cheer for the Red Sox and Boston as a city.
On the ice, the Bruins are a powerhouse, not just in the Atlantic Division or Eastern Conference, but also throughout the entire NHL. The B’s have reached the postseason in 16 of the past 19 seasons. They have long tenured superstars like Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and the captain himself, Patrice Bergeron, who have all had sensational seasons in recent memory.
On the court, the Celtics have been up and down since their NBA championship in 2008 but seem to have rebounded with young stars like Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart. The Celtics have proven themselves in the playoffs over the past 10 years and with young stars on the rise, seem set for another run of dominance.
Tearing it up on the gridiron, the New England Patriots won six Super Bowl titles in 20 years. With the unstoppable tandem of Quarterback Tom Brady and head coach and general manager Bill Belicheck, the Pats could not be stopped for 20 years. The Patriots were a dynasty from 2000 to 2019, winning six Super Bowls, nine AFC Championships, 17 AFC East Division titles, and 17 straight playoff appearances.
This is the definition of winning. This is the way, the Boston way.
Luke Sweeney ’24
The unprecedented success of the New England Patriots during the 2000s and 2010s has shut down the debate over which U.S. city is the sports capital of the country. To many, Boston is the undisputed city of champions and the most dominant city in the United States for professional sports. However, another city might be overlooked, a city with a rich history of success in sports, and the home to some of the best athletes the world has ever seen: Los Angeles.
The L.A. Lakers are considered by many to be the best basketball team of all time. While the Boston Celtics hold the crown for most NBA Championships, no other team has won more playoff games than the Lakers organization. The Lakers have had the privilege of producing elite hall of famers such as Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, the late Kobe Bryant, and now Lebron James. It is no surprise that the best players in the NBA are attracted to the city of L.A. and their premier basketball club.
Having such a strong market for sports and an almost overwhelming population density, it is surprising that L.A. has gone so many years without an NFL team. The city was home to the original Los Angeles Rams from 1942-1994. During that period they had limited success, making the Super Bowl only once and never taking home the Lombardi Trophy. It was not until the team moved to St. Louis that they won a Super Bowl during the 2000 NFL season with a high-powered offense that was labeled “The Greatest Show on Turf” under quarterback Kurt Warner. Football is currently back in Los Angeles as they are home to the Rams once again and the Chargers.
Baseball has been praised in the city of L.A. since the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to California in 1958. The Dodgers immediately found success in L.A. by winning the 1959 World Series and continued to impress the baseball world into the ‘60s. The pitching tandem of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale gave the Dodgers what they needed for an additional two championships in 1963 and 1965. L.A. was also home to pitching phenom Fernando Valenzuela, who was beloved by fans and led the club to another championship in 1988. They have won multiple World Series since the ‘80s and continue to be dominant today.
While Boston is home to the greatest football player to ever live, and the NBA team with the most championships of all time, it is impossible to exclude Los Angeles from the conversation of the “Greatest Sports City in The United States.”