Both were tremendous acts of sincerity, acknowledging the pain and suffering the city was going through. Both offered the victims some solace, knowing that two of the most powerful organizations in their respective sports shut down operations in such a serious time.
At other major sporting events, crowds engaged in respective moments of silence, while the New York Yankees showed no rivalry is above the American spirit. Sworn enemies in one of the most bitter rivalries in all of sports, the pinstripes chose to show their support for Boston’s embattled residents by singing ‘Sweet Caroline,” a Fenway favorite, after the third inning of Tuesday’s contest against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Once again, in the wake of pure devastation, sports provided a common denominator. These two fan bases, whose allegiances ruin friendships and divide families, ignored petty differences on the diamond for a beautiful act of sportsmanship and compassion. For a city that was desperately seeking some glimmer of sunlight, the wide world of sports offered a hand.
The gracious act of the Yankees was reason enough to write this article, to celebrate the pure power of sports to unite a country no matter who you may be cheering for that evening.
Yet until Wednesday, there had not been a professional sporting event in Boston. There had been countless gestures of compassion by other teams, but Boston, who has decided to rally its citizens with the mantra ‘Boston Strong,’ had not displayed its power in full force.
In one rendition of the national anthem at the TD Garden before Wednesday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres, Boston showed the nation it still had plenty of fight.
After about the first two lines of the anthem, singer Rene Rancourt lowered his microphone, and the home crowd took over. In what was probably the most chilling, gut-wrenching national anthem this writer has ever heard, Bruins fans stood and sang every word, each one louder than the one before.