Joanie Morris, USEA Managing Director of Eventing and Massachusetts native, reflects on the Boston marathon tragedy and the spirit of the people who call that city their home.
Joanie Morris was kind enough to write a few words for Eventing Nation as a reflection on the tragedy that struck Boston, our country, and the world two days ago. As the grieving continues, the hearts of Eventing Nation reach out to the many members of our community from the Boston area and all of those affected by this murderous tragedy. In her own words, Joanie is the Managing Director of Eventing and lives in a different Lexington, named for the great little town in Massachusetts that played such a huge part in defining this nation. Not as great as its neighbor Concord, but then again – not much is. –John
Top photo from the start of the Marathon on Monday, via Brewster Walker’s Facebook page
People from Boston Believe.
We believe that Boston is the Hub of the Universe. We believe that Bill Belichek’s cut off sweatshirt sleeves give him superpowers. In 2004 we believed enough that we reversed a curse. A real 86-year-old curse. We believed so much that three years later it happened again.
We believe that the biggest tea party in history happened in our harbor. We believe that Aerosmith rocks. We name our dogs Brady, Boston and Brighton. We believe in the foundation on which this nation was built, so much so that the whole state takes the day off and celebrates Patriots’ Day. (It wasn’t until I attended the University of Delaware and got into a lively discussion with a professor that I discovered this isn’t a national holiday – I imagine he probably still remembers my feelings on the subject). We believe so much in this day that the state choses to hold the single biggest annual sporting event on it. Schools are closed, businesses are closed, and for one day, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts belongs to the Boston Marathon.
Never, in a million years did anyone believe that someone would try to take that day from the city.
I haven’t felt homesick in a long time. I left Massachusetts when I graduated from high school (16 years ago) and I guess I always felt like I would be back eventually. Part of me is always there but the hub of my eventing world migrated away from Massachusetts and Area I. Not that long ago places like Ledyard, Groton House, GMHA and Huntington were on all of our calendars. Our sport has spread south and west, and with it, those of us whose lives are invested in it have migrated too.
But on Monday, I sat at my desk looking at selection procedures and negotiating video of US riders from a British event over Twitter when I read this retweet by The Week:
Boston marathon headquarters locked down after explosion reported near finish line: spokesman #breaking
— Reuters US News (@ReutersUS) April 15, 2013
All of me wanted to be home. I refused to believe it. I read more, refreshing twitter repetitively until tears rolled down my face in belief. This happened on our day, and the people still running had been running for more than four hours only to be met with tragedy. People stared at the TV, the computer, the iPad, each other – in disbelief. They want to know why, how, who. But mostly they want to know that the fabric of their souls will somehow be repaired. There is no sense to be made of a tragedy like this. Boston is a city in a state that belongs to its residents, current, past and future. At the core of this wonderful place is the people that know how to navigate it, the teams that bind them together and the strength to know that although life may never be the way it was, the citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will find a way to recover. Those who lost people they loved will have to look to their memories for peace, those who lost limbs or sustained injuries will eventually find a new normal. Everyone affected will find a way forward. They will find strength in the place that defines them and the people that share their city.
No one affected by this tragedy will ever stop believing in the city that for hundreds of years has been built on the strength of its people.
Believe in Boston.