Recently, I entered the 2018 Will McDonough Writing Contest through the Boston Globe and the Sports Museum at TD Garden. On Monday, I found out that I received an honorable mention at the 8th grade level for my 500-word essay. Over 1000 kids participated in this contest. As a prize, I will be receiving a certificate and four free museum passes. I have been to the TD Garden for Celtics games, Bruins games, and many other events, but I have never gotten the opportunity to visit this museum, and I am really looking forward to it.
You can see the other winners and honorable mentions for the contest and more information about the contest here.
My essay was about the attending the first Red Sox game at Fenway after the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings. I have also added pictures below that were taken on the day of the game.
Below is my official essay.
The Day I Learned The True Meaning of Boston Strong
It was the middle of the 8th inning at Fenway Park on April 20, 2013. As usual, Sweet Caroline was playing. But this time Neil Diamond surprised everyone by showing up to sing it live. It was the first Fenway game since the Boston Marathon bombings. The game was against the Royals and I was there for my cousin’s 10th birthday.
Although the bombings were on Marathon Monday, I didn’t hear about it until Wednesday because I was only nine and my parents didn’t want me to know about the awful news. While in line at Dunkin Donuts I saw coverage of the bomber manhunt on TV so they had to tell me what was going on.
As the weekend approached, the Red Sox canceled the Friday night game. The city was on lockdown until the second bomber was caught. That night I couldn’t fall asleep until I knew the bomber was captured. Fortunately, he was and Saturday morning we headed to the first game since the bombing.
When we arrived on Lansdowne Street, the entertainment outside Fenway combined with thousands of people singing “Hallelujah” inside the park helped lift the sadness in the city. We had to wait on a long security line but nobody seemed to mind. We were just happy that the game was on and the city was safe.
The energy inside Fenway that day was indescribable. The pregame ceremonies began honoring the Marathon bombing victims, the police that hunted down the bombers, and the paramedics who helped many wounded victims. The Red Sox were wearing special Boston Strong jerseys and there was a “B Strong” symbol on the Green Monster. As part of the ceremony, David Ortiz firmly stated, “This is Our F***ing City!” I had been to several games before but this was different.
The game itself started off slow but the crowd was loud after the inspiring pregame ceremony, chanting “USA” and “Boston Strong” rather than “Let’s go Red Sox.” The Royals jumped out to a 2-1 lead. But after Neil Diamond’s surprise appearance, Daniel Nava crushed a go-ahead 3-run homer to give the Red Sox a 4-2 lead. Although Lorenzo Cain hit a solo homer in the top of the 9th, closer Andrew Bailey finished the job for Boston, who won 4-3.
After the game we were ecstatic, but we had no idea how much the Red Sox would turn things around for the remainder of the season. Following a dismal last place 2012 season, I believe this game propelled the Red Sox to a 2013 World Series victory.
As we approach the five year anniversary of this historic game, what I remember most is how unified the city, as well as the country, seemed to be after such a violent event struck our city. I wish our country didn’t feel so divided and helpless right now especially after numerous mass shootings. We need the feeling of unity and resilience that everyone felt that day at Fenway Park.
“Kansas City Royals at Boston Red Sox Box Score, April 20, 2013.” Baseball Reference, 20 Apr. 2013, www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BOS/BOS201304200.shtml
I hope you enjoyed reading my essay. If you would like to enter the contest yourself, sign-ups for 2019 will be open next January. It is open to students between grades 4 and 12.