A couple weeks ago (it seems like years ago) I dropped off my bags in my hotel room and wandered down to the hotel bar at the Montreal Marriott Chateau Champlain. After sitting in the car driving up from Boston I needed to stretch my legs and my back. After 11PM the lobby was buzzing with people and the sounds of overemphasized dropped R's and everyone was wearing their colors (Black and Gold, Red & Blue, Green & White) It's as if we as a group were so insistent that you didn't confuse us with the nice residents of Montreal. Maybe it's just a way of picking out friends from foes. I had a long sleeve Bruins shirt on- heck it was Friday and I can wear it to work and I knew where I was going as soon as the work day was over..
Walking into the bar I was greeted by a group of middle aged overweight fellas with "Hey Boston" I smiled quickly said hello and made my way to a barstool. Established with the server what I wanted to drink and how I could see best a TV with hockey. The man next to me started a chat with me asking where I was from.
"I'm from Boston" I replied with a prideful smile. But I realized I wanted to separate myself from these loud guys down the bar - also "from Boston" We kept chatting about hockey and specifically about the perfection that is Patrice Bergeron. My partner in crime joined me at the bar and we finished our drink and our conversation and quietly made our way back to our room.
And that's who we are: We will show up in your town and we will let you know where we are from and make no apologies for it. Ask Baltimore about how it is to be known as Fenway South. Ask Islanders fans how it feels when we all Pile on the Isle.
Truthfully - if I wasn't one of us, I probably would hate us.
But I am proud to be from Boston, which is funny because I grew up in NH. I remember falling in love with the city as a small girl - it was my first crush. The first time I can remember my eyes getting wide and getting a lump in my throat over something was seeing the skyline as a little girl driving from NH to Quincy for a family gathering.
I eventually got out on my own and made a life for myself in the city. I lived in the North End for years. I walked to work and would spend my Saturdays on the Boston Common with a book and people watching. My friends were all made from meeting someone at a Bruins game, who eventually taught me how to keep score at Fenway Park. I'm married now and I live in Quincy - where I can be close to my cousins. But make no mistake, I'm from Boston.
So Monday when we left Fenway Park for the annual Patriot's Day outing that has become less about baseball and more about catching up with friends about the stuff you don't update on Facebook. In the last few years Patriot's Day has become an awesome double header because the Bruins are still playing hockey. So a couple years back we opted to choose a different route to get us to the other side of town, skipping Copley Square. The nice side benefit is that we pass runners that have completed the Boston Marathon who are typically from the area and we get to congratulate them for finishing the race.
We heard the blasts and quickly dismissed them as fire trucks going over a pothole. Then we saw smoke and running from Copley Square. We kept moving because it was clear whatever happened wasn't safe. So, we moved on. "Please let it be a manhole cover or a transformer" kept going in my head. But I knew in my heart that someone just attacked our home on the day we shine brightest. After a few hours of news coverage that seemed surreal - I new where I wanted to be: Section 307. The Garden. I wanted to sing the anthem at the top of my freaking lungs.
So here's my hope: I hope you will all learn all about my town, because there's lots I hope you learn that we aren't just the people that come to your town and let you know we are there. I hope that people learn all about our special day that is Patriot's Day, which is a celebration of freedom and the day that winter has no choice but to let go of its grasp of Boston and New England and make way for spring. I hope you learn that we play baseball at 11AM so we can all cheer on runners after the Sox finish. I hope that you are learning that while we have a hard outer shell we have a creamy gooey inside. I hope that you know that in my city, people open their homes to strangers in times of need. I hope you know that in my city, people look out for each other. I hope you know medical students were turned away because there were enough medical personnel tending to the wounded. I hope you know while everyone in my city and region is hurt, their resolve is stronger than ever. I hope you all learned last night that we are proud people (you already knew that) I hope that you all see the best of my city in the coming days and weeks. None of these things that have happened have surprised me because I know my city and I hope you all get to know it too. I know you all saw some of it last night at the Garden during the epic anthem. We all knew Martin Richard's last Bruins game shouldn't have been a week ago, someone knew his shirt should be hung on the Bobby Orr statue last night. It's the people that make Boston great - We are Boston.