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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Thursday, June 13, 2024

Column: Boston Marathon aftermath puts sports ‘heroes’ into perspective

The Masters’ final round is, in my opinion, the pizza of sporting events. You won’t regret the decision to park yourself on the couch for six hours, because Sunday at Augusta will always leave you with some sense of satisfaction.

Plenty of final rounds simply won’t compare to Tiger’s first career major championship at the 1997 Masters or Bubba’s playoff-win at Augusta last season. But by the same token, no pie will compare to Stuc’s Pizza in Appleton. I’ve come to believe the Masters’ final round will always give us a phenomenal finish, a compelling storyline or something in between.

This Sunday was no different, with Adam Scott capturing his first major championship just nine months after completely shitting the bed down the stretch at the British Open Championship at Lytham St. Annes.

Sure, Woods’ after-the-fact, two-stroke penalty fiasco was a lingering fart on an otherwise great Masters, whether you think he should have withdrawn or not been penalized in the first place. Nonetheless, Sunday at The Masters was once again must-watch TV.

However, no matter how much competition, drama or controversy we saw during The Masters, none will be a topic of discussion this week.

The storylines across media outlets, let alone the sports variety, will obviously focus on the tragedy in Boston Monday. I won’t go into length about the selfless acts of runners, bystanders and medical personnel, as my co-editor and award-winning sports columnist Matt Masterson already did so much better than I could hope in his column Tuesday.

However, I do think it is important to highlight the heroes from Monday’s misfortune and put them in perspective with sports “heroes.”

Regardless of whether you’re a sports fan or not, you’ve probably heard “hero,” “warrior,” “battle” or some other combat-related word to describe an athlete or team’s performance.

His walk-off pinch hit was a heroic effort … These guys strap up and go to battle night-in and night-out … He played on a bum ankle and still scored 35 points—that guy was a warrior tonight.

I won’t sit here and pretend I’ve never uttered something along these lines, because I have. Further, I certainly don’t understand as well as others how offensive it can be to talk about athletes as though they’re military figures. Excluding my grandpas, none of my family or especially close friends have served in the armed forces.

Although I can’t claim to have the same understanding as those who have served, I know it’s lazy as balls to call an athlete a warrior because of a great performance in the face of adversity. Similarly, it isn’t appropriate to deem clutch play heroic, because athletes’ on-the-field obstacles will never require a heroic effort to be hurdled.

My stance on this issue was enhanced Monday when Boston Marathon participants raced to hospitals to donate blood shortly after running 26.2 miles, bystanders rushed to uncover railings that had fallen on those in the near vicinity of the aftermath and the police jumped into the middle of the rubble to protect and serve.

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These efforts were nothing short of heroic, and any accomplishment in the sports arena, no matter how “heroic,” will pale in comparison.

Does it bother you when athletes are referred to as ‘warriors’ or when their performances are declared ‘heroic’? What did you think of this year’s edition of The Masters? Let Vince know what you think by shooting him an email at

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