Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Patriots Wishes and Caviar Dreams

It’s that time of year again; the stockings are hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that my sports wishes, soon will be here.

This year I've had to think long and hard about what I want, because last year my wish came true. As 2012 came to a close, my wish was that the Red Sox would climb out of the AL East cellar. At the time, I just hoped for them to battle for playoff contention. My wish came true times 1,000, with Boston taking the 2013 World Series title. From worst to first, it was a season of the ages.

 This year, my wishes are of the football variety. My Patriots are playing pretty well, and despite some major season-ending injuries, they are winning. But despite the record, something is missing. Primarily, there’s the absence of two 250-lb+ game-changing tight ends. One of them I can hope to see back next season. The other? Well I think right now he’s just hoping he’ll see the outside world sometime before he dies.

For my 265-lb freak, I wish a healthy 2014; one free of surgeries and full of catches, touchdowns and fiestas. Because we all know Rob Gronkowski es un fiesta. I hope his back, knee, forearm and whatever else ails him are good to go next year, and we are graced with a season full of Gronk.

My second request is for tall guys who catch good, and Gronk would say. For Tom Brady’s sake, I wish for a decent received corps. I don’t mean a mish-mash of average talent who are elevated by the play of a great play-calling qb; I mean 2007-esque talent, when The Freak was out there breaking all-time records with Tom Terrific. He deserves to end his career with some great receivers, instead of the mish-mash of talent he’s dealt with since Moss left. I mean a true receiver, not some little slot guy like Welker. Though great at what he did, I want to see someone who can make spectacular grabs like Calvin Johnson or Brandon Marshall.

 Speaking of ending his career, I wish for a Fountain of Youth. At 36, I know that the end is drawing near for the Patriots with Tom Brady at the helm. I can’t imagine he has more than a couple seasons left in his arm, and I’m already freaking out. But my biggest fear? That Bill Belichick will decide to leave at the same time as his muse. Then I really don’t know what I’ll do. If Tom leaves but New England still has Bill, I feel like we can make it; without him, the dreaded “rebuilding” will begin. We've been a bit spoiled in the last 12 years, and I don’t think I can take a season of renovation. Every year since 2001, my football team has been a playoff and Super Bowl contender. I can’t remember a time when I “couldn't watch” the Patriots, or that each game didn't mean something. So I need Tom to drink some H2O from Ponce de Leon’s legendary spring and continue to be an active Patriot for life. Since I know this isn't logical, I hope that Belichick doesn't retire at the same time as the best quarterback ever (I’m not biased at all).

 A guy who can run 100 yards a game… without dropping the ball. I am so tired of the Patriots’ non-existent running game. They have spurts here and there over the years, but they haven’t had a consistent runner since Corey Dillon. I trust Belichick, but his incapability to draft a decent running back is killing me. I know he thinks other positions are more important, which is obvious since the Pats never draft a game-changing WR or RB, but for once I’d love to have a guy on the field who I knew could just run up the gut and score some TDs. As Tom gets up there in years, having a reliable runner to take some of the pressure off would be a God send.

A new hip for Aqib Talib. One of my favorite Patriots, I fear Talib is going to play the rest of his career on one leg. A legitimate option for Defensive Player of the Year before he got hurt Oct. 13, Talib was completely shutting it down in the backfield – in consecutive weeks, he held Julio Jones, A.J. Green and Jimmy Graham to a COMBINED six catches and 62 yards. Through the first six games of the season, with a healthy Talib, the Patriots defense allowed just 16 points per game. Having a guy who can shut down the opposing team’s best player can’t be understated. Then Talib hurt his hip flexor, missed three games, and hasn’t been the same since he returned. That said, Talib on one leg is still better than ¾ of the other corners in the league. But imagine if he was 100%? That is my wish.

So, Eight Pound, Six Ounce, Newborn Baby Jesus, in your golden fleece diapers, with your curled-up, fat, balled-up little fists pawing at the air … don’t even know a word yet, just a little infant and so cuddly, but still omnipotent… please hear my prayers for Tom, Bill, Gronk, Aqib and the rest.

And finally, my wish for all of you is that you have a very Merry Christmas, a belated Happy Chanukah, and a very happy and healthy new year. Here’s hoping for some great Bowl games, some kick-ass NFL playoff matchups, and, hopefully, Tom hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy at the end. Amen.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Jameis Winston case: Victimizing the victim in rape accusations

One day, you have consensual sex with someone. Later that same day, you go out to a bar, have some drinks and get a little woozy. You’re talking to a guy, maybe you even flirt. He whisks you away and things get a little out of hand, and you tell him to stop. He doesn't. You leave in shock. It might even take you a little while to realize what happened. You were raped. You know you should go to the police, but at the time you don’t want to deal with that. You just want to forget. Or, you do go to the police, and they don’t take you seriously because you’re drunk. Then imagine finding out, or knowing, that he is a star athlete. And everyone in town wants you to keep your mouth shut. Because apparently your attack is less important than a game.

On Dec. 5, Florida state attorney Willie Meggs decided not to charge Florida State quarterback and Heisman hopeful Jameis Winston with rape because of “major lapses in the accuser's memory, her level of intoxication at the time of the incident and the presence of two different men in the woman's rape kit."

I’m going to get up on my soap box for a few minute, because I am pissed. I'm pissed because rape is an epidemic in our country, and people act like it isn't - statistically, nearly 1 in 5 women in the U.S. have been through a rape or attempted rape[i].  I am mad that yet another woman was made out to be a slut because she had consensual sex with someone earlier in the day; that she was "asking for it" because she was drinking. Whether he intended to or not, what Meggs said is, if you are drinking and get raped, then your recollection can’t be trusted. And if you had consensual sex earlier that night, then there is no way the police should believe that the second person made you do something you didn't want to do. Because apparently having two sets of DNA inside of her, one which is reported to be that of her boyfriend, makes her a slut. That is the implication and don’t try to make the argument that isn't what they are saying – it absolutely is. This is why 60 percent of women who are raped don’t report it – because 97 percent of rapists won’t spend a day in jail[ii].

What a crock. I think we all know that most rapes happen when the victim is drinking. According to police reports, the woman’s speech was slightly slurred and she doesn't remember certain parts of the night. I’m sure the police instantly shook their heads at the “dumb slut who was asking for it.” Generalization on my part? Perhaps. But “no” in slurred speech is still “no.” 

When speaking about the victim’s memory gaps, the state attorney pointed to "an analysis of a blood-alcohol test taken several hours after the alleged attack that showed her blood-alcohol content at the time of the incident could have been 0.10 percent, even though when it was taken the rest registered a 0.04 reading. The 0.10 reading would have been higher than the 0.08 legal limit for driving."

Wait... so when her blood was taken it was .04, but they are speculating it "could" have been .10? If this girl weighed somewhere around 120 lbs, that is 2-3 drinks in an hour[iii]. Not to sound like an alcoholic, but I drink that amount on a regular Friday night and am nowhere near "blackout." Even if she is a lightweight, I find it hard to believe having a few drinks would cause her to have so many memory gaps that the prosecution couldn't count on her recollection of the night of the attack. It just seems like a very convenient excuse.

Most women don’t report rape. You know why? Because of crap like this. They make it out like you did something wrong because you were drinking and can’t remember every single step you took the night of the attack. And the fact that she had two sets of DNA inside of her makes her story less believable, even though one set of DNA reportedly belongs to her boyfriend. Is it that hard to believe that she had sex with her boyfriend, then went out, had a few couple drinks, and was taken advantage of? Had this gone to trial, Winston's accuser would have faced brutal cross-examination regarding her memory gaps, her drinking, and the presence of another person’s DNA from the night of the incident. According to ESPN, rape shield laws in all 50 states protect sexual assault victims from inquiry into their sexual histories, but because there were two sets of DNA on the same night, it would have allowed cross examination on the details of her sexual history.

This makes me ill. Having sex with someone willingly earlier in the night does not make her a slut, and it doesn't mean she wasn't raped later that night. Drinking too much doesn't mean she gave up her right to say no, or that she was asking for it. Bad decisions don't justify an attack.

You know what she remembers? Who attacked her – I can guarantee that. I’m sure she has tried to forget it – but, unfortunately for her, she never will. She didn’t come forward with the name right away because she knew this would happen. As soon as Winston started playing like a Heisman Trophy candidate, unless there was video of him in the act, there was no way he was getting charged.

There are people out there implying that, because it was Jameis Winston, that “she probably wanted it.” F*&# you. Just because a girl dresses a certain way, drinks or even flirts, doesn't make it OK for anyone – anyone – to continue something after she says “no.” We are a country that victimizes a woman after rape. They are put through a trial – judicial or public – that questions their very moral fortitude, implying that their sexual history means rape isn't possible. Just look at the Steubenville High School rape case[iv], where a high school girl was drunk and assaulted by two football players – and the creeps took pictures and shared them with friends and on social media. And instead of supporting the poor girl, people – including those in her own town and the media –downplayed the rape, sympathized with the perpetrators and called her a whore.

I don’t care if a girl has 100 drinks, or has slept with 100 men – that doesn't make it OK for someone else to force her to do something – ever. And just because someone is a star athlete doesn't mean he should be excused for bad behavior or predatory actions.

All of this said, I am not saying Jameis Winston is a rapist – I fully believe one is innocent until proven guilty. However, the given reasons for not charging him in this case are asinine. As a woman, I am insulted and I am mad - women are victimized all of the time. This case just made me feel so sorry for the victim, who was victimized again by the public and by the judicial system that is supposed to protect her.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hey Bill Maher - F* You

To say I've never been a fan of Bill Maher is a gross understatement. I've always found him self-righteous, smug and pompous. And that has very little to do with my, for the most part, disagreeing with his political opinions. But I've always found it best to just ignore people I find irritating.

That is until you piss me off. And Maher did just that when he degraded the city of Boston.

On his show "Real Time with Bill Maher," he basically criticized the Red Sox and the city of Boston for stopping at the marathon finish line and placing the World Series Trophy on it, along with a "617" Sox jersey (Boston's area code for those who don't know).

"So the parade, they go to the place where the marathon bombing took place, they put the World Series statue there and they sing 'God Bless America' and they say 'Boston strong' and they chant 'U-S-A,' you know. It was again, a bad day, three people died, that's terrible. More were maimed, that's horrible, but unfortunately that happens every day, in car accidents and everything else. I mean, your city was not leveled by Godzilla," he said

Yes, Bill. Every day three people die in car accidents. But you know what? Those are accidents, not acts of terror - big difference.

I think there are those who share his opinion, those who aren't from Boston who think that maybe we're "going overboard on Boston Strong." But they don't get it. This is how we are - we're loud, brash and we unapologetically support all things Boston. So when tragedy hits us at home, you can bet your ass we're going to band together and be as loud as we can. You know why? Because f* those guys who terrorized our city. They didn't break us - they brought us closer together than ever before. They made us stronger and prouder than ever to be from Boston. And we want them to know it.

Maher is known for shooting his mouth at inappropriate times. About a week after the most deadly terrorist attack on U.S. soil, Maher, a native New Yorker, sat down with a panel on his show, "Politically Incorrect" and said this about the men who flew the planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11 :

“We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That’s cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it’s not cowardly.”

You don't agree with drones, Bill? OK, many people don't. But there is a time and place, and that was the wrong time. The mastermind behind 9/11? He was basically "lobbing" those planes from 7,000 miles away. And being willing to die doesn't mean you aren't a coward.

Those comments lost Maher his show - and rightfully so. Because that isn't what the people of New York, Washington D.C. and the rest of the U.S. needed to hear so soon after such a tragedy. "Politically Incorrect" is a gross understatement when describing his post-9/11 comments.

Not an attack of the same magnitude, death-toll wise, but a terrorist attack nonetheless, Maher's comments regarding the way the city of Boston celebrated were insensitive, rude and, frankly, offensive.

"We needed this," Mark Porcaro, of Boston, told The Associated Press after the Sox clinched the Series. "They were an easy team to get behind because they stood up for us when we needed them most."

That's how every Bostonian felt. So Bill Maher - f* you.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Can we please stop using the term “Warrior” when referring to football players?

I had the honor of working for the United States Army for seven years. I know true warriors; I watched men and women leave their families for 12-18 months at a time, to go to far off lands to fight and protect. 

And, I have been with families as they buried their warriors.

How many time have we hear coaches, players and analysts talk about football players’ “warrior mentality?” Sure, they're tough guys on the field, but they are also pampered and fawned over off the field. These athletes live in the lap of luxury, while our real warriors – our military – live in small on-base houses with sometimes barely enough money to adequately care for their families. I know soldiers who have deployed three, four, five times, whose families are on WIC because their salaries aren’t enough to sufficiently feed their family. Yet, the football players are the heroes.

Simply, one cannot compare the "warrior mentality" of a football player to a soldier because there is no comparison.

Our soldiers willingly put their lives on the line to protect our ideals and our freedom. Football players put their bodies on the line for a game. Both are mentally and physically grueling; but one does it for honor and duty; the other does it for fun and money.

Basic pay for a soldier averages somewhere around $40,000 a year. Basic pay for an Army private is just under $18,000, while a general (of which there are very few) makes into the low six figures. In the NFL, league minimum for a rookie is $405,000 a year, while the minimum for a player with 10 years’ experience is right around $1 million. That is the minimum – the average salary of an NFL quarterback is $3.4 million, the average for a wide receiver and linebacker is $1.8 million, and kickers and punters average $1.6 million – KICKERS AND PUNTERS!

Now, go up to a soldier, who has been away from his family for five of the last ten years, and seen his buddies killed and maimed, that the millionaire is a warrior. 

I know soldiers’ wives who gave birth to their children alone, and had to go through those first sleepless months by themselves; fathers and mothers who had to leave their babies, and come home to children who don’t even remember them; I have seen the pain on the faces of families whose warriors are never coming home.

I have watched planes full of soldiers take off to Iraq and Afghanistan, knowing that not everyone on that flight will come home. I have watched the families of deployed soldiers struggle to make it through everyday life while the most important person in their lives is living in a dangerous place, where people want them dead. I have also been lucky enough to witness the joy of families reunited, of fathers seeing their baby – who could be nine months old – for the first time.

These men and women are warriors. They put their duty and their country before all else. They put their lives in danger so that we don't have to. They are willing to die to protect our freedom. 

Football players are talented, physically-gifted freaks who are paid incredibly well because they are part of a product that produces billions of dollars in revenue each year. But they are not warriors.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Guest blog: The Argument for the 'Bandwagon Fan'

This week we have a special guest blog. My good friend Susan wants to weigh in on her opinion about the so-called "Bandwagon fan." She makes some good, really solid points. Let's not throw around the phrase "Bandwagon fan" so freely in the future, mmmm kay?

The Argument for the 'Bandwagon Fan'

Last night was the first time I witnessed the Boston Red Sox win the World Series. In 2004, I was backpacking around France and in 2007, I watched the entire series only to get really sick on the last night and fall asleep due to an overdose of cold meds.

Finally 2013 was the year I got to witness the magic firsthand. When that last out was made, I was excited and proud, not just for the players, but for the entire city of Boston. After posting a photo of a me and a few of my friends in our Red Sox hats, the “bandwagon fan” comments started. Not just on my page, but in general; the Facebook newsfeed was littered with comments from both Boston fans and non-Boston fans alike, hating on the so-called  “bandwagon fans.”

A bandwagon fan by definition is anyone who claims they are a "fan" of a particular sports team, even though they had no prior support for/interest in the team until that team started winning.  By this definition, I don’t qualify.  I grew up 20 miles outside Boston and was raised as a Red Sox fan; my dad did field maintenance at Fenway Park when I was a kid; I went to my first game when I was in sixth grade; I’ve celebrated birthday’s in those stands, and some of my favorite college memories involve the Red Sox.

I will admit, like many of you, I don’t watch every game, in fact I rarely tune in for a regular season game. I love going to the ball park, but don’t find regular season play to be all that exciting on TV. Playoff baseball is different. There’s passion behind it that doesn’t shine through in quite the same way on warm day in July that it does on a cool night in October. The players are different and the fans are different – because it’s finally so close we can taste it, and we want to be part of the magic. 

I often wonder how full Fenway Park would be if you were only allowed to come in if you had watched every game that season? For most of us, a trip to Fenway is a once-, maybe twice-a-year treat. On any given night, the park is made up of people that the hardcore fans would consider “bandwagon fans,” but really we’re just regular folks who feel connected to a team and want to support them when we can, and however we can – even if that only means catching a handful of games a year.

We need to remember so-called "bandwagon fans" contribute to revenue - they buy hats, tickets, and beers at the stadium. That revenue helps the team continue to scout top players and invest in and develop young talent. The bandwagon or fair-weather fans play a role in the success of the Red Sox, or any team for that matter, whether the hardcore fans like it or not.

On April 15, 2013, the Red Sox played their annual Boston Marathon day game. No one could have predicted the horror that would happen that day, but what could be predicted was how the Red Sox reacted.  They carried the Boston Strong message and spirit with them throughout the season, honoring those who lost their lives or were injured at the marathon finish line, and giving strength to a city that already was one of the strongest in the world.

Last night when the Boston Red Sox won the World Series, they weren’t "Red Sox Strong;" they were Boston Strong, and whether you watched every game all season, or if you only tuned in for the last 10 minutes of the game, if you’re from Boston, you’re a fan - and no one should be able to take that away from you.

Susan, right, and two other Red Sox supporters living in Washington D.C.,
the night the Red Sox won the 2013 World Series.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Yet another town, another school, forever changed

Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook. These seemingly wonderful places to live and go to school are now names associated with horrendous acts of violence – so much so that we no longer think of them as towns or schools, but as crime scenes. The memories of what happened there can never be washed away.
All of these school tragedies upset me, just as they upset most people in our nation. But they were always far away; I knew in my head that it could happen anywhere, but I never truly believed it would happen just anywhere – I never thought it would happen in my “where.”
Until it did.
On October 22, a 14-year-old student brutally murdered his 24-year-old teacher at Danvers High School. My town. My high school.
I didn’t know Colleen Ritzer, but I wept for her; for the pain she went through and the confusion she must have felt. I wept for her family, and I wept for the children of the town where I had a picturesque childhood, who are forever changed.  
This horrific event is confusing and unimaginable. This is something that happens on a TV crime drama, not at your own high school. The crime occurred in the second floor bathroom, where I was hundreds of times – that was the “good” bathroom, the one that wasn’t full of smoke or too hot or too cold. She was discarded in the woods right behind the school, onto the trail I ran a hundred times. It isn't just close to home – it is home. When horror occurs in your own backyard, it shakes you to your core; it affects you and changes you.
The people of Danvers are hurt, confused, shocked and angry. We’re hurt because when we grew up Danvers was a town where you didn’t even lock your doors; we had very little fear for our safety, especially when we were at school. We’re confused, shocked and angry because, well, this isn’t supposed to happen here.
Photo from the Candle Light Vigil held for Colleen Ritzer at Danvers High School, Oct. 23. Hundreds showed up to honor and remember the slain math teacher.
But I think that’s the scariest part of all of this; in Columbine, Blacksburg and Newtown before us, no one thought something so awful would ever happen in their town. Then it does, and you're forever scarred.
Just as those places were, our town and everyone in it is forever changed. There is a wound that will eventually scab over and heal, but it will leave behind a scar that never completely goes away. We’ll always be “the town where the teacher was murdered.”
Colleen Ritzer was known for her infectious smile, her friendly nature and her love of math. She was the epitome of what a young teacher should be -  excited to teach. On her Twitter feed, she wrote math jokes, encouraging messages and inspirational quotes. She described herself as a "Math teacher often too excited about the topics I'm teaching."

An inspirational quote posted by Ritzer on her Twitter feed

A beloved teacher, gone in such a gruesome way, before she really had a chance to live. 
Every time I drive by my high school, my first thought won’t be the great memories I amassed there of my lifelong friends and the teachers who affected my life in the way I’m sure Ms. Ritzer affected lives, but what happened Oct. 22, 2013. Danvers High School is no longer where I had track meets, soccer games or band practice – it will forever be where THIS happened. In the aftermath of such a horrendous crime, we’re left to pick up the pieces and try to go on.
It seems like they caught the assailant, and he’ll be locked away. But the damage caused by what he did … well, that will never go away.
No one will ever look at Danvers High School the same. One life was taken; another thrown away when a teenager gave into his barbaric impulses. The innocence of thousands of students around the community was shattered. Those of us who aren’t students anymore are left with a little more fear than we had a few days ago. I, for one, feel a little less safe in every day life than I did before this happened; before I learned what people are capable of.
But I know my town; Danvers is full of good, hard-working people and it will overcome this tragedy. The community will grieve together and band together to heal. We are forever changed, forever scarred, but we will heal – but we won't forget. We will be strong to honor Colleen Ritzer.

Danvers High School students returned to school Friday, Oct. 25 - three days after the murder of a math teacher on school grounds. They were greeted by a quote posted by that teacher, Colleen Ritzer, on her Twitter feed. "No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind."


Monday, October 14, 2013

"Redskins" isn't historical - it's distasteful

During last night's Redskins-Cowboys Sunday Night Football broadcast, Bob Costas did a commentary regarding the name of the Washington Redskins. Here is a link to the transcript : http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/wp/2013/10/13/bob-costas-on-redskins-name-its-an-insult-a-slur/

The debate over whether or not teams should change their Native American mascots has been going on for years. Many schools and franchises have opted to make the switch, including the University of Massachusetts Minutemen (a much better fit than the Redmen) and St. John's University Red Storm (prior to 1994 they were also the Redmen), while others, including the Redskins and Cleveland Indians, remain steadfast in their approval of their names. Some teams, including the Florida State Seminoles, have chosen to keep their name because the Seminole tribe has given their approval. However, the difference between calling a team "Seminole" or "Sioux" or "Blackhawks" is vastly different than "Redskins" or even "Indians." The former are accurate names of a people; the latter are inaccurate terms once used to describe a race by an uninformed majority and therefore should not be used as the names of sports teams.

Owner Dan Snyder sent out an email last week to Washington fans, telling them why he believes his team should keep the name "Redskins." In it, he writes: "The name was never a label. It was, and continues to be, a badge of honor." In the email, Snyder is trying to gain support for one of the major arguments against changing the Redskins moniker which is, "most Native Americans aren't offended by it." To that I say phooey. I am not all about the "PC movement," but I don't agree with using derogatory terms as names of sports teams just because it's been that way for so many years. If a team was called the "Washington Crackers," even though I might not be personally offended as a white person, I would still not agree with the name, because it is a derogatory term about a specific race.

Native American Steve Morales, of Dallas, holds up a sign that reads "Redskin does not honor Native People", as he joins others in protest outside of an NFL football game between the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, October 13, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

The term "redskin" was never a term of affection, and therefore using it as a team name is no longer OK. Just because the team has had its name since 1933 doesn't mean they should get to keep it. Today, using the term "redskin" in any way other than referring to the Washington football team is seen as taboo and derogatory. For that fact alone, the name "Redskins" must change. 

Photo from  Verlin Deer In Water, a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma shows his t-shirt during an interview in Washington, Monday, Oct. 7, 2013, calling for the Washington Redskins NFL football team to change its name, prior to the start of the Oneida Indian Nation's Change the Mascot symposium. During an interview, President Barack Obama suggested that the owner of the Washington Redskins football team consider changing its name because, the president said, the current name offends "a sizable group of people." (Carolyn Kaster)
I am 30, and growing up we called Native Americans "Indians." However, the times have changed and "Indian" now refers to the people who are actually from India. Calling Native Americans "Indians" is not only offensive, it is completely inaccurate. Many people of an older generation can't get used to this change, but just because they don't want to change or don't agree with it doesn't mean the change isn't right. I liken it to referring to any Asian person as "Chinese," any Hispanic person as "Mexican," or any Eastern European as "Russian" – you may not mean to offend, but you are affronting those you are calling the wrong nationality.

Calling a Native American an "Indian" or a "redskin" is no longer "OK" in our society, and to still use those terms as the moniker for a sports team is distasteful and just plain wrong.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Boston Strong

I am from Boston. It’s where I grew up, where my family and most of my friends live. It is where my heart is, where my soul is, and it made me who I am. No matter how long I am away, Boston will always be “home.” I am, and have always been, proud to hail from Beantown.

Bostonians don’t have the reputation for being particularly modest. We are tough, mostly blue collar people, who work hard and play harder. We are a proud people – lest anyone ever go into a Boston bar and say something as sinful as “Go Yankees.” We support our sports teams and our politicians with unabashed loyalty, and we are proud of our heritage.

Being from Boston is like a fraternity; no matter where you go, you undoubtedly find someone else from Boston, and are instant buddies. You may have never met, but you share a past. 

Saying that Monday’s events shook me is a gross understatement. Seeing the terror at the Boston Marathon, happening in my hometown, shook me to my core. I’ve been right where the bombs went off, hundreds of times. I knew people who were right there when it happened. Luckily, no one I knew was gravely injured, but in a town like Boston, the loss of Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell and Lingzi Lu, who was in Boston studying at my alma mater, hurts us all on a personal level.

When I was a student at Boston University, we referred to Marathon Monday as “the happiest day of the year.” Every Patriot’s Day the town of Boston shuts down to all except sports; the Red Sox play a day game, the marathon takes place in the streets from Hopkinton, up Heartbreak Hill, and down to Boylston St., and the Bruins play a game that night. It’s our Mardi Gras, our New Years Eve. It’s a day everyone in Boston looks forward to each year; it’s a day that we celebrate being from Boston.

What happened Monday does not change that. The Marathon will forever have the scar of the lives lost and the bodies maimed, but we will not let it take away our spirit. We are Boston and we are proud – forever.
With tears in our eyes, we will sing the National Anthem louder than ever before; we will honor an 8-year-old by hanging his hockey jersey over the statue of Bobby Orr; we will never forget those lost, and we will not let those who did this get away with it.

Because if I know one thing for sure about Bostonians, it's that we are tough and we will overcome. Like everyone from Boston, I believe in my town – we always have, and we always will. Boston is a tough and resilient town, and so are its people. We are Boston, and we are strong.