I was supposed to leave Boston today for Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, for my first-ever Global X Games event. Obviously, that did not happen, although it had nothing initially to do with what happened at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
In a way, I’m thankful for that. Not because I wouldn’t rather be in the air right now, flying from my first layover to my initial stop in Brazil. Not at all. I’ve been working my tail off my whole life to get to where I am in my life and career right now, and this happened literally on the precipice of the largest quantum leap forward I’ve ever taken.
No, the reason I’m thankful for not having left Boston is because of the friends and family that I’m lucky enough to have. Immediately after the explosions went off I was bombarded with calls and texts ensuring my safety, both from close friends and acquaintances with whom I’ve fallen out of touch. It’s a very humbling thing to see that many people hoping that you’re safe.
The truth is, I live on the marathon route. Not by the finish line, which is more of a business district, but a little bit of the way up the route, maybe by about a mile or so. There’s a good chance that if I hadn’t gone back inside my apartment to try and get some work accomplished, I would have seen some of the runners who were going by at the time of the explosions—folks like Demi Clark, a public relations professional in the NASCAR world, and 78-year-old Bill Iffrig, the old man knocked down by the blast who said he “doesn’t have much use for (terrorists).”
But, lucky me, I went back in. I didn’t notice anything. In fact, I was lucky enough that my area was relatively undisturbed.
There were scary moments, though. The initial press, hours of trying to both check in on friends and notify family members that I was fine despite the lack of cellular service. Staying indoors as the police performed a sweep of the city. Initially hearing that one of your best friends may have been near the explosion site if not for running late for work. They’re all awful, gut-wrenching events, leading to feelings of uneasiness and insecurity.
The natural process of mourning and grief begins. For a while, you start wondering “what if.” The closest I came to somebody affected by this tragedy was the cousin of a friend of my girlfriend, but she lost both legs in one of the blasts. That’s heavy as hell, man. It’s crazy. It’s unfathomable for a (relatively) healthy person like me to even try to comprehend. This poor girl is going to go through the rest of her life like that. I have had discussions with friends and family about whether or not I should still go to Brazil, if it’s worth it right now. A few have asked me not to go.
Then you start hearing about the outpouring of support. Runners continuing to Mass General Hospital to donate blood. A Google document with thousands of people offering temporary lodging to those displaced. Multiple sporting events with moments of silence in tribute.
All of that is beautiful.
And all that positivity makes you realize something. It’s not about “what if.” It never is. If we all lived our lives by “what if” all the damn time, we wouldn’t be living our lives for anything. We’d all be sheltered inside of our homes, glued to the television, watching the news, never moving out of fear, every minute of every hour of every day. That’s what unchecked negativity, all that “what if,” does to a person. That’s what the people who commit crimes like this want. They want you to be afraid.
Right now I have not made my decision on whether or not to still go. A significant amount of people are still wary of the concept, citing everything from the likely backup on air travel in Boston to a more general pervasive fear. I am truly blessed to have the understanding and full support of my family, friends, and employers on whatever I choose to do. I am truly fortunate and lucky to have surrounded myself with people who blur the line between the three. All of you out there—and I’m sure many of you are reading—are loved and appreciated.
But at my most pessimistic moment, the darkest hour of the darkest day I’ve ever spent in my beautiful city, I did something highly unexpected: I fell asleep. Thanks to my exhaustion, for about an hour, I was free of the negativity, the sadness, the frustration that came with the horrific atrocities we saw today. And when I woke up, I was refreshed. I am now many times more resolute in my will to go—not out of fear for travel, but out of guilt and angst over leaving my city, my friends, those who care about me.
To those who responded to today’s events, bless your courage and integrity.
To those who caused them, you picked the wrong city to mess with.
And to those who are scared right now, walk unafraid.