Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday's Musings on Sports - Heads Held High and Low Blows

The events of the last week are still fresh in my mind and I certain highs and lows that I can't seem to shake. I will use this post to vent on some of these issues and try to tie it together with some Torah thoughts.

Last Monday afternoon I was sitting at my desk in the office, trying to get my work done and thinking about the post I wanted to write this evening. Then the news broke about explosions in Boston. The workplace devolved into a mass discussion of what happened and why it happened. How many people were killed? What was the cause? Was it connected to fires at the JFK Library (still no answer to that one)? And the all encompassing question - who was behind it and why did they do it?

It was a good few hours before all the secretaries and paralegals left and I was able to go back to doing work. I wound up working until close to 9PM and by the time I walked in the door of my home, the subject that I wanted to write about was no longer important.

Over the course of the following days, we learned how courageous the people of Boston are and that they would not be frightened by the acts of these cowards. There were quite a few false starts and news reports which proved to be false. Pictures were circulated and then discounted and the story continued to evolve.

As with the aftermath of 9/11, sports played a role in healing the wounds in Boston and the rest of the country. After cancelling the Bruins game which was supposed to be played on Monday night, the next sporting event played in Boston was another Bruins game on Wednesday Night. The night started with significant cheering during the National Anthem and great displays of patriotism and "Boston Strong" pride. It did not matter that the Bruins lost the game, the night belonged to the City of Boston.

As the week went by, we learned that (again) it was Muslim terrorists who exploited the freedom offered by this country in order to attack that which we hold so dear. The City of Boston was locked down for much of Friday and the entire mass transit system was shut down while the animals were hunted. They managed to take down yet another innocent police officer while a second sits in the hospital as it write this post.

Meanwhile, the sporting world gathered to show support for Boston. There was a moment of silence before the London Marathon. There were many standing ovations and chants of USA, USA at various arenas when it was announced that Dzokhar was captured. A Phoenix Coyote player wore a jersey during warmups with the name Martin Richard (the eight year old boy who was killed in the bombings) on the back of the jersey. (For a great post on Keith Yandle and the jersey, click here - ).

But there was also a low moment and it had nothing to do with the conspiracy theorists and their bizarre attempts to claim that these brothers were "framed." The moment took place on Saturday Night at Madison Square Garden. Prior to the first game of the Knicks-Celtics playoff series, the Knicks presented a color guard and offered their sympathies to the City of Boston. Paul Pierce stood with Carmelo Anthony to accept these wishes, but when he began to speak, some Knick fans booed him. I could not believe the story when I heard it later (the event took place on Shabbos). How low can people stoop with their fanatical hatred of other teams? The world cried for Boston, but these Knick fans can't show any respect?

The story made me think about the eruv rav - the group of outsiders who accompanied the Jews when they left Egypt. This eruv rav were not true Jews, they had converted out of fear and joined the Jews as a way out of Egypt. But once the eruv rav saw that things were not 100% rosy all the time, they started to create trouble for the Jews in the desert. The eruv rav were the architects of the Golden Calf and the eruv rav were the ones that were attacked by Amalek because they straggled behind and complained. Why did they act this way? Because they were not really Jews, they just joined the bandwagon.

These Knick fans do not represent New York and are not true New Yorkers. People who suffered through the emotional scars of 9/11 could not possibly have booed a tribute to the City of Boston. Only a group more into itself than being productive members of society, could boo such a moment. These people are not New Yorkers, they just happen to occupy space in New York.

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