Today we have 700 channels on TV, and think if we didn't have the remote control,
the channel changer wheel would be the size of a tractor tire. 700 channels,
we didn't have 700 channels growing up, we had 3 channels when I was a kid,
and if the president was on, your night was shot.
"The president's on! He's on every channel! We're gonna miss Flipper!"
On Monday, April 21, 2014 the 118th Boston Marathon will be run. Many Americans will take this time to relish how worthwhile their hundred dollar a month cable bill suddenly seems. No one will blame them for wanting to change the channel from ABC/NBC/CNN/ESPN/MTV/InsertChannelYouHaveNeverHeard "BREAKING NEWS !!!^@!!!" coverage of people out for a run. Most American's think Hopkinton was that actor from Silence of the Lambs, have no idea why the Red Sox play in the morning, and would have only heard of Dick and Rick Hoyt if anyone ever watched the ESPY's. The marathon is big in New England (day off from school!), big amongst runners, and little more than a blip on the radar screen for everyone else.
But it's more than that.
Prior to the events of last years running, the Boston Marathon participants had raised over 20 million for charity. Not over the lifespan of the race, but that one day last year alone, that fateful April 15th, the marathon was responsible for over $20,000,000 for causes ranging from pediatric cancer, to the New England Aquarium. They were running for people like Drexel's own Alex Niles (who writes very well himself, follow the link) and thousands upon thousands - way too many -with stories like his. In the 26 years of the Official Charity Program for the Boston Marathon® over 140 million dollars have been raised for various causes, an epic fundraising achievement. This year, those numbers are expected to skyrocket.
Every single person running, or drinking heavily while spectating will know what happened last year. The names of Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu, Martin Richard, and Sean Collier will be etched in the minds of many who knew and cared for them. ESPN won't stop reminding us and won't mind making a buck off of their memories with their ridiculous Sunday Night Baseball broadcast just prior to the next days 11am first pitch. ESPN won't win this battle though, nor will the brothers whose names I'm unwilling to mention, no matter how badly Rolling Stone wants to make them rock stars. The winners of this years race will be the same as they always have been: The Jimmy Fund, Massachusetts General Hospital, stroke research, and children, children, and more children.
The day prior to the marathon is Easter Sunday, a time that the Christian Church reminds us all of their guiding values of forgiveness and thanksgiving, of miracles that have occurred and will occur. Sunday is a time for reflection and gratitude. Come Monday, there is a choice, watch the coverage, talk about the bombings, do what sells newspapers and TV time. Alternatively, you can let the people who were hurt so badly last year lead all of us to a better Boston, a better country and a better world, and realize how the good that comes from this race will always beat the evil. Last year 2,000 runners officially ran for charity, raising 20.8 million dollars. This year 3,000 runners will run for causes. With those numbers - with that amount of fundraising - Easter might not be the only miracle that happens this week.