There are several aspects to The Marathon by Grantland.com that gives different accounts of the Boston Marathon bombing, but it also feels like it is all from the author’s vision. After looking up the author, Charles Pierce, I was surprised to find out it wasn’t Bill Simmons. Pierce does a beautiful job explaining the scene going from all the different points of the horror: after, during and different accounts of the tragedy.
Pierce’s look as a writer is almost comical in a very difficult time. I like this use of writing because he uses it to lighten the mood of an otherwise completely depressing topic. Although the Boston Marathon bombing became one of the most tragic sporting events ever, Pierce attempted to make it lighthearted. Mocking sports writers and the event itself brings the bombing tragedy to a more positive feeling. Pierce tries to make the reader feel like they’re in the bleak, saddened, empty streets. My favorite aspect of his writing style to start the piece is that he brings the reader into a dark place without making them feel dark themselves.
After he gets past walking down the emptiness, he goes to the bombing that happened prior. The people running through the streets, the terrified faces and the familiar feeling during a tragedy became the focus. My favorite part from this section is we return to reality. The bombing brought the entire city, marathon and nation to a stop. A source he quoted said it made him think of September 11, 2001. The scariest part of that sentence is that when 9/11 happened the United States had never experienced something like that. Now, we seem to have a tragedy like that once every few months. Pierce brings a lot of visual imagery that I think is a lost art in print writing. Print brings only so much to the table, but Pierce paints the picture that you need to see in order to fully appreciate the trauma and death the runners, spectators and bystanders witnessed. The bombing also did what the attacks on 9/11 did, brought the nation together. Pierce captures this as well.
People were lost and confused, but hopeless at the same time. The feeling of hopelessness is not easily captured in words or through print text, but Pierce finds a way to describe it as well as you can. Being hopeless is a feeling you can only feel. A true feeling of hopeless can never be captured in words. Pierce follows that with describing a family’s rejoice to reunite after the explosion. This part of the story brings us back to the hopeful, upbeat aftermath of the explosion. It is really hard to feel happy during a tragedy, but the relief of seeing your family is unlike any other. The tragedy that some felt will never be fixed, the feeling of loss is never filled. Pierce’s writing is a nice way to tell the story of such a danger and scary reality in our world. The reality being that we can never fully feel safe, and that’s really disheartening. He touches on that a little by saying that the Marathon will never be the same, now there will be security checks at every point; people will not be able to just go enjoy the race. Now the race is a spectacle and a worry that the worst could happen again. His style of writing here makes me feel sad. He’s right, as more bad happens we lose the innocence of the world of sports. His honesty is actually really refreshing in a sports piece. Now that’s not to say that other sports writers are liars, but it is different to see more honest analysis instead of straight fact or opinion.
I also like the talk about the recovery tent. The imagery of the exhausted runners who finished before the explosion is so underrated. I never even thought about those people because you are so focused on the blast and the repercussions of the disaster. I can only imagine the scene of resting and relaxing turn to panic as the injured were rushed into the tent. The terrifying truth came out in Pierce’s story. I loved his inclusion of this part. It humanizes the event even further. It’s hard to imagine such an event, and (like myself) I’m sure people didn’t know about the recovery tent was used as a makeshift hospital. Choosing to include this was a great addition to his piece and brings so much insight to such a depressing time.
His close was an interesting choice, but I think it works. He talks about the woman being upset that no one would let her in to pee. Pierce tries to bring more humor to the otherwise super-depressing story. It is very complicated story, and if he misses with those last two paragraphs, he could ruin the whole article. He finds a way to make everything fun and happy looking at the future of the Boston Marathon.
More and more sports bring people together, and the Marathon has grown since the tragedy. The Boston Marathon also brought the nation together and through tragedy, the United States always joins together and feels each other’s pain.