For as long as we've held major sporting events in this country, they've served one purpose—to allow us to lose ourselves in revelry for a couple of hours and help us to forget that sometimes the world can be a really awful place.
They're not supposed to be the epicenter of our real life nightmares, as the Boston Marathon became in the early hours of Monday afternoon.
By now, we've all seen the images and experienced the visceral emotions that come with seeing them. The horror of the video of the explosions interrupting the celebratory finish line, the shock of the carnage in its wake, the pride in seeing first responders heading towards the dead and the wounded.
Sporting events are where we go to feel safe. The coward that did this—and make no mistake, heroes don't attack the innocent—did so knowing that. The Boston Marathon is a place where ordinary individuals live out their dreams of running an historic race.
It's not supposed to be the place where an 8-year-old boy takes his last breath as he excitedly waits for his father to cross the finish line.
But for as horrific as what happened on Monday is, sports have helped our country heal from the unfathomable in the past. And sports will help us heal from unfathomable horror once again.
On Wednesday night, the Boston Bruins will take on the Buffalo Sabres in the first sporting event in Boston since the attack. Two days later, the Red Sox will be back in town to take on the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park.
For as strong and tough as Chicagoans like to portray ourselves as, our counterparts in Boston have us beat in that department by a landslide.
And regardless of our loyalties, we'll all be rooting for Boston in much the same way that we rooted for New York during the first games after the attacks on 9/11 because the city of Boston needs a mindless diversion now more than ever.
Life will go on because life has no choice but to go on. But after what happened on Monday, we'll all be just a little more cautious than we were before when going somewhere to lose ourselves in the frivolity of sport.
Matt Lindner is a RedEye special contributor.
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