The coronavirus pandemic brought live sports a pause almost in an instant. As the world attempts to slow the spread and search for economic answers, sports fans eagerly await the return of sports. And when the games return, they’ll undoubtedly help in the healing process, just as they have time and time again. This week, NESN.com is reliving the times sports helped us heal.
The week of April 15, 2013, was supposed to be one of the best weeks of the year on the Boston sports calendar, beginning with the Boston Marathon on that Patriots? Day Monday.
It quickly became evident that Monday afternoon that the week instead would be one of the worst in the long history of the city when two bombs exploded near the Marathon finish line. The blasts claimed the lives of three people and injured hundreds more, maiming some for life.
The Bruins game scheduled for Monday night unsurprisingly was postponed. A Wednesday night game at TD Garden against the Buffalo Sabres also hung in the balance. Eventually, the decision was made — despite two suspected bombers still on the loose — to play that game as scheduled.
That cloud of fear didn?t dissuade more than 17,000 people from filing into the Garden that Wednesday night. The Bruins lost the game, but the real memory from that night was the grieving process playing out in public, as Boston came together for the first time since the bombings. B?s anthem singer Rene Rancourt turned singing duties over to the sellout crowd, as the Black and Gold faithful dabbed tears from their eyes while signing an unforgettable national anthem as part of an emotional pregame ceremony.
One night later, the region was on edge, as a manhunt for the suspects played out in Cambridge and Watertown. Eventually, the entire region sheltered in place, allowing the authorities to do their jobs. Both suspects ultimately were apprehended as Boston breathed a sigh of relief while celebrating the first responders.
Then, on Saturday afternoon, the Red Sox made their return to Fenway Park against the Kansas City Royals. Sox slugger David Ortiz then proved it wasn?t just his on-field performance that endeared him to the city, as he gave a quick, impassioned speech to rally the Fenway Faithful.
Then, just a few hours later, Daniel Nava sent the crowd into a frenzy, giving reason for celebration of the highest order.