On April 15, 2013 two bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring over 150. The week after the attacks, Bostonians demonstrated resolve in a number of ways—businesses reopened, workers reentered the city, and traffic flowed through the streets. Many turned to sports in order to cope with the tragedies. At the Bruins game the following Wednesday, Rene Rancourt, who has sang the national anthem at the matches for 35 years, stepped forward to sing to the unusually somber crowd. Unable to finish, the Garden erupted with the voices of those who grieved, remembered, and reflected upon Monday’s events. The voices of 17,565 joined in singing the Star Spangled Banner that night, but one single voice permeated through arena and people’s televisions.
Sports prevail in Boston. Walking down the street, team logos dot the landscape—Boston-branded sports paraphernalia is a quintessential addition to any local’s closet. The five major sports teams—the Boston Bruins, the New England Patriots, the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Celtics, and New England Revolution—have had a highly successful decade, with 7 championships in total—3 from the Patriots, 2 from the Red Sox, and 1 each from the Celtics and Bruins.
Fans look towards Boston teams as a guiding light. Chris Biotti, a former D1 Harvard hockey player and NHL defensemen, and current Managing Director and Market Executive at US Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management, sees Boston sports teams as a connector for the region, providing inspiration to fans. “I think they are an inspiration...[the teams] are often a microcosm of the region...they are the pulse,” said Bitotti. Unlike other parts of the country, New England only offers one team per major sport. Fans connect better with the team and each other knowing that they will not come across a fan rooting for a different New England football or basketball team. This creates a create a bond between a Bostonian and their team.
The bond is strengthened by the sense of accessibility that exists between the teams and players. On any given day in the city, one could expect to see Tom Brady running next to the Charles River, or a Celtics player volunteering at Children’s Hospital. Boston players are known to stay in the city after retiring, but still continuing to be an active member of the community. Tedy Bruschi was born in San Francisco, but played for the Patriots for 12 years until retirement. He and his family still own property in Boston, he ran in the 2012 Boston Marathon, he had played saxaphone for the Boston Pops.
Boston teams are in many ways producers of strength. “Teams can help the community come together [after tragedy]...rally each other, and support each other,” said Larry Scott, Commissioner of the collegiate Pacific-12 Conference. Five days after the attacks, at the Red Sox game, David Ortiz grabbed the microphone and just like a protective older sibling screams “this is our [explicit] city!” While a little uncouth, the crowd burst out in applause. His words brought fans and him closer–knowing they were all going through it together.
These models of strength can be seen in the enormous memorial to the Bombings has emerged in Copley Square. Walking through the memorial, which stretches one block, the ground and guardrails are covered with caps and shirts bearing Boston sports logos. It looks like an outdoor fan shop—but means so much more. Families gather to honor the victims. While the the surrounding blocks are filled with the usual city noises, the space surrounding memorial is silent, as people young and old pay their respects to the fallen and injured. When the city was attacked, morale fell. But when it came back, Boston sports were there to lift it up.
The studio began by practicing interviewing others and learning basic camera functions. The second day consisted of us picking topics and doing some brainstorming on projects. I chose Boston sports beccause I feel that it is a relevant topic and could have a meaningful piece. I chose to explore the relationship between Boston sports teams and their fans in the wake of tragedy like the Boston Marathon Bombings. I spent the first part of my project photographing aroiund central square. I interviewed people on the street in order to get an idea of what the general attitude in Cambridge was towards my topic. After many interviews I realized that I wanted to move towards the memorials dedicated to the attacks on Boylston Street. The first day I went to Boylston Street I was hesitant to aproach people and only knew of the small memorials at the bombing sites. After experiencing the region the first day, I wanted to return in order to improve and get some more successful photos. I found the large memorial at Copley Square and began to photograph. I kept in mind everything I have learned about taking a successful photograph and I was able to create a complete and professional collection of photos. I chose the final photos for my story and matched them up with the wirtten piece in order to show the reader and viewer my entire project's work.