In his wonderful tribute to the 16 members of Canada’s hockey community killed in a tragic bus crash—10 were players of the Humboldt Broncos heading to a playoff game in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Playoffs—Aaron Gleason of The Federalist, writes “Canada is hockey and hockey is Canada.”
Think of the Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Yankees, and Notre Dame Fighting Irish, explains Gleason, “Now Imagine that there was one team that embodied all this money, fame, scrutiny, hate and love. That is what the Toronto Maple Leafs are to Canada.”
On Monday night, my household was tuned in to NESN well before the drop of the puck at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The Boston Bruins were facing the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Leafs’ first home playoff game since the Broncos tragedy. As is tradition, the singer performed the visiting team’s national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner first, then, all she did was begin “O Canada” and the crowd took over. It was awesome.
Five years ago, after The Boston Marathon Bombing, Gleason reminds us, it was Boston Garden fixture Rene Rancourt, who will be retiring at the close of this season, performing The Star Spangled Banner before the crowd took over.
That night the Bruins’ fans took over the “Star Spangled Banner” from the legendary Rene Rancourt, just like Toronto did this week. This is the real importance of sports. It binds us together in our pain and heartache. And it does so with something that ultimately doesn’t matter that much. It turns out that the things that don’t matter that much actually end up mattering a lot. A flag is just some cloth. A song is just some sounds. A sports team just plays a game. But when we need them their symbolism become medicine. We’re all in this life together. Boston made that clear by creating a charity campaign for the Broncos’ survivors.
Boston Bruins post-Marathon Ceremony 4-17-13 #BostonStrong
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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