Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Brief Sporting History of #BostonStrong

It was a cold winter, colder than the Pilgrims had expected. Settlers in a new world, how could they have known? Back home, the ground didn’t freeze quite so viciously and at least there were always potatoes. So many fucking potatoes. But here they were, in a vast and undiscovered land, perhaps not even able to make it through the winter. Desperate and hungry, the Pilgrims had no choice; they would have to ask the other inhabitants of this uninhabited land if they had any food.

These other inhabitants were wild, savage people. It was a miracle they knew how to cultivate the land at all. But they had food, and while willing to share it, they proposed a friendly game. A game of lacrosse.

The Pilgrims were wary. They remembered how Cromwell had seized power from Charles I after a friendly game of badminton gone awry*. Unable to adequately control the damn shuttlecock, Charles had lost his head. This lacrosse match would be no friendly game. This was a test, one the Pilgrims had no intention of losing.

*Yes, I know my timeline’s wrong. Fuck off, I liked this joke.

And so it began, shirts versus feathers. Who knew the game these primitive people played would have so many rules? Cold and nearly defeated, the Pilgrims pressed on. Time and again, the Pilgrims were offsides, but they didn’t care. To them, the whole field was theirs anyway. Ultimately they seized victory, as if it was their destiny.

The Pilgrims feasted that night. Drunk with power (and probably liquor) they overturned multiple teepees on their victorious march home.  

This experiment called New England would live on. It would remain #strong.
- - -
A century and a half passed. Many more people came to settle this new land, to make a new life across an ocean. Colonies formed as the great powers of Europe set up outposts in this far-flung land. Proxy wars to mirror those in Europe sprouted, with England generally prevailing. (As usual, the Natives suffered, no matter who won.) The British colonists were asked - nay forced - to pitch in for their own protection. They declined. The British overlords did not look too kindly on this.

A massacre in downtown Boston. Yet more taxation sans representation. Tea Parties in the Atlantic Ocean. The British brought more troops, forcing the colonists to play host on their own turf. They wanted to quell this revolt before it could get started. They shut down the harbor. The colonists argued vehemently that this was obstruction.

But in this metaphorical powder keg, a skirmish was inevitable. One if by land, two if by sea and the British meant business. Paul Revere (fine, and Dawes and Prescott) rode straight through enemy territory to warn their fellow patriots of an ensuing attack.

Everyone agreed it was the greatest retreat in the history of capture the flag.

Perhaps this Revolution would yet hold #strong.
- - -
The War continued on.

The Brits wanted to run their standard offense, to line up and take out these upstarts, but the Revolutionaries would not let them get into their sets. They beat the British back with a full court press. Washington (with an assist from Lafayette) ultimately cut off all the Brits’ outlets, and they conceded defeat.

Out of the timeout - by way of Articles of Confederation - emerged a shaken nation, but in swooped the Constitutional Convention. One team would rise from the rubble.

Boston was shaken but the Union was #strong.
- - -

Over two centuries later, another massacre in downtown Boston, as two assholes bomb a marathon for no apparent reason. After a shootout with police, the city locks down to catch the surviving brother. He is apprehended.

A little over five months later, the Red Sox win the World Series.

We celebrate with a Twitter hashtag. #BostonStrong.

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