Monday, April 15, 2013

Testing the limits of human endurance

I've always had trouble watching movies (such as The Sum of All Fears or The Dark Knight Rises) where a major attack happens at a sporting event. It's not that I feel differently about other public explosions, but there's something about a sporting-event massacre that makes me want to cry even when it's fake.

Part of it, I think, is that such events are meant to be happy diversions, and they draw eclectic crowds of all ages. Also, I'm a sports fan. Today's tragedy at the Boston Marathon brought it even closer to home for me, because of my running background. I've run in a couple of 5Ks. But more crucially, I spent seven years setting up all manner of road races, from cross country courses to track meets to triathlons to major annual 5Ks. These, more than football and other arena events, are typically loose, fun and populated with an intensely devoted fan base. The work was hard, but it was also tremendously rewarding. Runners are a community and rarely harbor any hard feelings. Spectators tend to be friendly as well and finish lines lack the police-state security ever present even at local games.

It's especially heartbreaking to see people literally blown apart while running. While doing something that may well have otherwise been the highlight of their lives. Beyond even being in the line of duty, these were people just out to have a fun day. It's a day forever marred for some reason that isn't yet clear, and will certainly never be justified or the least bit human. And we're likely to see more ramped-up security and fear as a result. For big-city festivals. For marathons. Jesus.

I'm in a public place right now and it's all I can do not to cry.

Why? 

Just ... why.

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