To use the phrase “Patriots Day in Boston” feels to me to be a bit redundant, seeing as the day, despite its historical significance to America, seems to be observed only here. Even then, I’m willing to bet that most residents of Massachusetts have long ago learned to associate it with the great race, instead of with the Longfellow poem about Paul Revere’s ride, and the subsequent battle that started our War for Independence. I don’t think it’s too dramatic on my part to say that this year it was the race that spoke to our ongoing battle to maintain our independence, this time from a different kind of tyranny. I guess what I’m trying to say is that if it’s Patriots Day, then it’s Boston, and I’m proud to say that we were there.
There didn’t seem to be much questioned that we’d be in Boston, we just needed a plan. It was my youngest daughter Andrea who decided we should go in for the other iconic happening on the third Monday in April, namely the 11:oo AM starting Red Sox game. So with bleacher tickets in hand, we headed to Somerville to pick up more family and then take the Red Line of the “T” into Boston. Getting off at Park Station, we decided to walk the 35 minutes or so through Boston Common, up Commonwealth Ave, under the famous Citgo sign, to Kenmore Square, and finally Fenway Park. It was great walking weather, and the whole process was made even easier by the fact that so many streets had already been closed down that we barely had to pause to cross most streets. Along our route, we saw security in great many forms. There were police on foot, horseback, on bicycles, motorcycles, huge SUV’s. and armored SWAT vehicles. But despite, or maybe because of, their presences, the atmosphere was still very pleasant and surprisingly low key.
The bleachers were, well, the bleachers. The seats, for some reason or another, angle towards Pesky’s Pole rather then the field, but were still surprisingly good. The fans around us were the usually denizens of the bleachers, you know, the rather large family that can’t afford anything closer, the slightly drunk, but very loud twenty-something girl who tries to start a “let’s go Red Sox” chant directly into your ear. The guy who goes an gets two beers every other inning (and assumedly the bathroom during the alternating innings), and a large assortment of Sox’s fans who were just enjoying the sun and a fairly entertaining game. Not surprisingly, the second biggest cheer of the day, was when they flashed on the big screen that the 38 year old American runner, Meb Keflezighi (pictured victoriously at the top of this post), had indeed won the marathon. The loudest cheer of the day came a little later when they flashed a picture of the victorious Keflezighi wrapped in an American flag.
After the game, we search in vain to find a place from which we could watch some of the marathon. One side effect of the increase security and additional road closings was that although we could see evidence of the race, we could never quite find it. Eventually we settled for a place to eat on Huntington Ave, where we consumed burgers and beer, before looking for an open “T” stop, and the trip home. We had fulfilled our obligation, and had a good time doing it.
Between my middle daughter Marilyn and me, this family has run in six Boston’s, giving Patriots Day extra special meaning for us. Even though she hasn’t run in one in five years, and me in two or three times that, every Patriots Day we usually end up exchanging text messages that say something to the effect that although we’re glad we’re not putting ourselves through that, we kinda wish we were. If you are a runner, or even just a recreational jogger, the Boston Marathon has that effect on you. You have to do at least one, but once you have, you want to do it again. I believe now the rest of the country understands that. Now if only I could do something about my knees…
Featured image courtesy of: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
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