EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

April 18, 2013

Sports unites nation in time of need

Sports can unite people, begin the healing process

Yankees fans did their best to belt out “Sweet Caroline.”

A Cleveland Indians fan left a handwritten sign, “From our city to your city,” in the Red Sox dugout.

Runners in London’s marathon Sunday are being urged to cross the finish line with hands over hearts.

Sports fans around the globe have stood with Boston following the bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday.

Those tributes led up to last night at TD Garden, where the Bruins played the first major sporting event in Boston since the explosions that killed three and injured more than 170.

Last night was more than just a game, it was the beginning of the healing process for one of the most rabid sports cities in the country.

“One of the things you see after events such as Sept. 11 and Newtown is that sport can be used as a platform that can unite many different types of people,” said Karen Collins, associate professor of sport studies at the University of New Hampshire. “Regardless of race or socio-economic status, sport is something people will relate to.”

The Bruins wore blue-and-gold ribbons on their helmets with the words “Boston Strong” to honor the victims of the bombings. A “Boston Strong” video played on the scoreboard, followed by a moment of silence to honor the victims and the first responders.

The Red Sox played in Cleveland on Tuesday. Every member of the team signed a flag with a “B Strong” logo. The logo has become a popular Facebook and Twitter avatar.

“Sports brings people together,” said Ken Wooley, 43, of Derry, who was shopping at Wal-Mart in Derry. “It takes their minds off what has been going on. This will bring Boston together and bring Massachusetts together, and even bring the entire country together.”

While Boston teams are holding their own tributes, other cities are showing their solidarity.

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