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Boston Marathon tragedy is strong reminder of priorities

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Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 12:38 am | Updated: 5:35 pm, Wed Aug 28, 2013.

At 2 p.m. on Monday afternoon, I walked into ESPN Radio 850/900 in Weimer Hall to prepare for my weekly radio show.

There were certain things I planned to discuss.

Tiger Woods dropping a ball.

A South Carolina base runner falling between third base and home plate.

The 10 greatest baseball movies of all time.

Then, none of that mattered anymore.

Within an hour of arriving at work, news broke of two explosions at the Boston Marathon finish line that killed three people and injured more than 100 others.

In the minutes following the blasts, pictures surfaced online that simultaneously gave you chills and warmed your heart. 

Two bystanders were tending to a female spectator with an injured leg. 

Three other pedestrians were helping a first responder care for another injured woman. 

Another non-rescue worker was assisting someone who had lost his right leg below the knee.

Civilians were actually running toward the danger to help.

Three policemen rushed to the aid of an elderly runner who had the misfortune of approaching the finish line just as the bombs went off.

The stories that later emerged from the chaos only struck an even deeper chord.

That old man — 78-year-old Bill Iffrig — got up and finished the race after collapsing immediately following the explosions.

One of the three deaths resulting from the accident was an 8-year-old boy named Martin Richard.

His mom was in critical condition after undergoing serious brain surgery as a result of the explosion.

His sister lost a leg.

And perhaps the most amazing story in the aftermath of Monday’s tragedy were reports that multiple marathoners continued running to area hospitals to give blood after completing the race.

The generosity of those runners and others led to the Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts Tweeting it had enough blood thanks to the generosity of those who had already donated.

How the hell can people talk about anything else on a sports radio show that begins 3 hours after such a horrific event?

Well, because so little information had been confirmed at that point, we had to discuss Tiger’s drop, great baseball movies and UF baseball, but it felt wrong. 

On any other day, that’s a normal slate of topics.

On Monday, nothing could have felt more trivial.

My ultimate goal is to write and talk about such things for a living.  But Monday’s tragedy in Boston was a terrible yet necessary reminder that if I reach my professional goal, I won’t be covering what is most important. 

The moment the first bomb detonated, it ceased to be a sports story and became one of life and death, good and evil and widespread courage.

Sports can give you memorable moments in which athletes do great things, help others and show their human side.

But rarely does this involve anyone putting his or her life on the line to save another.

Keep the people of Boston, the victims and their families in your thoughts these next few weeks. 

But just as importantly, the next time the Gators or any other team you cheer for loses, remember it really isn’t a big deal.

Because things could be worse for you. 

Much worse.

Contact Josh Jurnovoy at [email protected].

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