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Overwhelming the negativity

Eileen Lynch | Sunday, April 21, 2013

I used to tell people I hate Boston. I’d spent too many Marathon Mondays wet and cold, jogging behind my father to the next lookout so we could shout briefly at my mother as she passed by sweating. My mom has run somewhere between 30 and 40 marathons. My three siblings and father combined come close to 20. I myself am a consummate spectator. Chicago, New York, Hartford, Burlington, Washington D.C., Boston, Boston and Boston.
This Marathon Monday, I spent two hours desperately tracking down four runners and three spectators and three more hours obsessively watching live updates. I still can’t really connect the Boston on the news with the Boston I know. I’ve complained about the cold, but all I can remember are the tipsy college kids handing out oranges. I remember the sun on my face while strangers outside a Dairy Queen gave me directions to the T. I remember hugging my mother over the flimsy barrier of orange plastic gating. I remember looking in shock at desperate runners who, abandoning endless port-a-potty lines, crouched behind Hopkington bushes. Mostly, I remember the incredible energy radiating out from runners and reflecting back from the crowd.
Bombs didn’t cheer on my brother to beat his best in Boston. Bombs didn’t help my mother to the hospital when she finished one year with a broken hip (yes, marathoners are crazy). Bombs didn’t offer a friend sponges to wipe her face somewhere around mile 20 and bombs didn’t inch over on the curb so I could squeeze through and high-five my sister. People did.
That’s the magic of Boston. Bombs will never scare us away. Next year, runners will bring their Gu belts and lucky socks. I’ll bring posters taped to yardsticks. Boston, I know, will bring its Boston College frat parties, suburban lemonade stands and, of course, the thunderous Boylston bleachers.
The Boston Marathon is about human energy and exuberance. The electricity and generosity of the crowd will overwhelm the negative energy of those bombs. Right now, let’s pray for the victims and hope for justice. Next year, let’s go back.

Eileen Lynch
Ryan Hall
April 16