When the Red Sox emerged from the locker room Saturday, they weren’t sporting their regular home game unies. Instead of the usual “Red Sox” lettering, the jerseys had “Boston” stitched across the front.
They were no longer mere professional ball players.
They were — and are — Boston.
And if that wasn’t a grand enough display of pride, fan favorite David Ortiz brought Fenway to its feet when he said “This is our (expletive) city. … And nobody’s going to (take) our freedom. Stay strong!”
Be Boston strong. Be Strong. “B strong” has, since last week’s bombing at the Boston Marathon, become a national rally cry of strength, pride and perseverance.
Kansas City players — when facing the Red Sox — wore “B strong” patches on their jerseys Saturday and again Sunday.
Decals were painted on the IndyCars competing in the Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday; likewise with the Roush Fenway Racing cars at Kansas Raceway.
T-shirt vendors are hawking the call to “B strong,” and it’s a short matter of time before that call appears on bumper stickers, hats, baseballs and thousands of other bits of merchandise.
Many of the proceeds from these sales will go to the marathon victims’ relief fund, including money raised through the auction of the “Boston” Red Sox jerseys.
The rousing pride that Ortiz tapped is the natural reaction of a collective nation that is proud of its people and our resilience in the face of hardship. Our shared ability to "B strong" is an expression of dignity that has helped Americans grapple with the violence of the bombings and resulting fear in our neighborhoods.
But pride is something else, too.
It’s the effort we bring to our jobs, to raising our families and to shaping our communities. It’s our shared sense of accomplishment and good.
It is not, however, a characteristic embraced by all or embraced all of the time.
How else to explain a person who rolls down a car window and flicks a still smoking cigarette on a bed of carefully planted flowers along a city median?
Or the person who cheats his or her fellow residents out of General Assistance funds simply because it’s easier than working?
Or the person who makes the effort to walk the dog, but won’t take a modicum more effort to clean up that dog’s waste?
Or the person who steals from a stranger, or strikes a family member, or lies to a co-worker?
What we saw in the streets of Boston last week was a tremendous and feisty sense of pride in police and in ourselves to help us stand strong in the face of terror, and that’s an emotion worth clutching to.
But what about smaller points of pride? The ones that pepper our lives — or at least should pepper our lives — in the daily business of family, work and community? Could we, by taking a collective stand to be proud in all we do, have stronger families, a stronger economy and stronger communities?
And wouldn’t that be the best response to terrorists who wish to destroy us?
To be strong, do strong and think strong every day?
The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and the editorial board.