The Boston Marathon attack – an attack on all sportspeople

I don’t want to be trite about this event, and I’m far away from it in different country, an athlete in a different sport.

But regardless of nationality or sporting event, apart from being an event in America we should all see this as an attack on all athletes and sports-people whether participants or otherwise, around the world.

All athletes regardless of sport rely on three commonalities:

  1. The community of our fellow athletes.
  2. The support of our families and friends.
  3. The organisers and volunteers without whom events would be non-existent.

None is more important, some people pursue individual quests, some do it without family or friends, maybe some believe they do something entirely without organisational support, but no-one is completely individual and unconnected to the world. Kick out any one leg of the three and the whole pursuit, whatever your sport is, falls apart.

There may be for you, as there are for me, many sports in which you have no interest. But that is not the same as having no interest in the people who pursue them. It’s not the same as not recognising that every sports-person cares just as deeply about their sport.

This attack was on the athletes, the supporters, the by-standers, the families and friends, and the organisers. My stomach churns at the thought of the people who have some event planned for next week or next month after this. Some event that for them may the biggest sporting pursuit in their lives, or a personal goal or even simply just part of their lives, some sport that for them is as essential to living as swimming is for me. And trying to convince their family that they can continue, and worrying whether the organisers might not continue.

Because for many of them, one thought that will not arise will be to stop their sport, whether running, football of any kind, swimming. 

On that basis, ask yourself, if tomorrow in your swimming you had this hanging over you: Would you swim? And even if you did, as most of us would I think, think about the new burden that would bring to you and those connected with it.

Therefore I say, the Boston Marathon attack is an attack on every person who has ever participated, helped, organised, supported, or even watched, any sport in the world. I sympathise with those affected.

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