On April 15th, 2013, Tax day in America and Patriots day in Boston, President Obama announced to the world that the bombs that exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon that afternoon were tools of terror. What made his speech significant was not the admission that the United States had once again been thrust into a state of hyper-vigilance by an act of terrorism on its home soil, but the fact that the act of terrorism had finally made its way again to the new citadel of our culture, the sporting event.
Only once before have the hallowed halls of our sporting temples been affected by the indignity of terrorism. Back in 1996 at Olympic Park in Atlanta. And we would have to go back to Munich in 1972 to find a similar act on a sporting stage beyond American soil. It seems that even terrorists like sports. How else to explain why this hasn't happened before, and more regularly. Our modern cathedrals of secular worship are often packed with tens of thousands of potential victims ripe for someone who wants to make a statement via cowardly violence. But terrorists have long practiced restraint and caution around symbols of faith.
For many thousands of people the Boston Marathon bombing felt sacrilegious. How dare someone violate the sanctity of our corporate act of worship. Don't these bombers fear god? Don't they realize this is bad karma? No wonder no one has taken responsibility for this act yet. It would be like bombing St. Patrick's Cathedral on a Sunday during Lent and then boasting about it on Facebook. Who does that?
I'll tell you who. Someone sick. Someone with no faith. Someone who has never felt the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat after honest, fully committed competition. Someone who knows just how important sports are to Americans and everyone else around the world, but has no love or regard for them him or herself. When those responsible are identified we will likely discover that they have no sporting faith at all, just a faith in the world's love affair with sports.
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