I tend to consider my level of selfishness somewhat of a blessing. Because I mostly only care about things that affect me in some way, I am able to prevent a lot of terrible things from ruffling my feathers. A few examples:
- I was “fine” after 9/11
- I was “fine” after Hurricane Katrina
- I have been “fine” after every ridiculous mass shooting from Virginia Tech to Aurora to Sandy Hook
Now don’t get me wrong, I promise I’m not a complete monster. In every tragic situation this country has endured since I’ve been mature enough to “understand,” I’ve been left feeling empathetic, sad, and utterly confused. Fortunately, I’ve been incredibly lucky in all of these events and have not lost anyone I love as a result or been otherwise personally affected; I have never been rattled enough by any of these things to shed even half of a tear.
Perhaps it’s because a fairly large part of me aspires to run Boston, and would have given a lot to have been in good enough shape to run it today. Perhaps it’s because, this time around, I did know a lot of people who could have been affected, both as runners and spectators. (It’s definitely partly because amidst the chaos, it wasn’t immediately clear that those people were unharmed. Luckily, my friends are all safe yet again.) Perhaps it’s because if I wasn’t taking half the day off of work on Friday, I would have taken today off to go watch…and obviously would have wanted to be watching from the finish.
But I think what is making this hardest for me is that the thing I’ve come to love most about running is the running community. Runners, of all the athletes I’ve ever encountered, are BY FAR the best collective group of people of anyone, ever. I have never met a runner I would describe as a “dick,” or an “asshole,” or any other unpleasant adjective. (Sadly, I can’t say the same about climbers, skiers/snowboarders, or even cyclists.) I honestly think there’s just something about running that keeps those of us who do it profoundly human…compassionate, supportive, enthusiastic. Nobody in Boston should have been subject to this senselessness today. NO group of people deserves to experience such a terrible tragedy, especially while they are literally chasing their dreams.
I suppose the silver-ish lining here is that since this horrible thing did happen to such an amazing group of people, the healing process will be at least slightly easier, and I’m sure the running community will now become even more of a tight-knit group. And, since two deaths is certainly more than enough (I just got a breaking news text that one of the dead WAS AN EIGHT YEAR OLD. WTF?), I am at least glad that more people weren’t killed as a result.
(I guess I should also be able to take comfort in the fact that I’m incapable of being as selfish and malicious as whoever was behind this nonsense.)
*I apologize if this post is even more ramble-y than usual. There was very little editing involved.