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(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

Gazzolo Column: Evil may be forever lurking, but good will always shine through

Last Modified: Thursday, April 18, 2013 2:50 PM

By Jim Gazzolo / American Press

On wobbly knees and strained nerves we return to our lives a little less certain about where we are headed.

And maybe looking over our shoulders a little more often.

Once again our foundation has been rocked, our confidence shaken and resolve tested.

This thanks to unexpected madness found at an unexpected place and time.

Monday afternoon, at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, two bombs exploded, leaving in their wake chaos and tragedy. America’s best-known running event had been tarnished forever.

Sad to say this was not the first time our country has been sucker punched. Even sadder to say it won’t be the last.

Nor is it the first time sports has been at the center of such rage.

While they are meant to bring us together, oftentimes others use such events to try to pull us apart. This is another one of those attempts.

There is no way to make sense of the senseless, but we must try to reassure our children that the good people still outnumber the bad.

So we hold them a little closer, a little tighter and try and protect them from our newest bogeyman.

It’s hard to do when in the past few months we have found that we are no longer safe in school, in a movie theater or even in the open at a sporting event being watched by millions.

We have learned that evil lurks in the darkness but there is also hope that shines a light on such horror.

While many will remember the carnage those bombs created — the families forever be torn apart, the dreams of so many dashed — we also must remember the good.

In a world where we honor the speed and power of our athletes, we also found much more from runners who themselves are not usually in the spotlight.

Even after the bombs went off runners still raced to the finish line, almost in defiance of the hatred. Many didn’t stop there.

Having accomplished their goals and then realizing an even bigger responsibility, more than a few kept right on running to the nearest hospitals, racing to give their blood for others in need.

It is a lesson we have learned from our sports fields, that getting knocked down is the easy part, but that getting back up is what makes us strong.

It is also what makes us know we will not let the actions of others define our moments.

There is no question that sports is often way over blown, that we put too much emphasis on such trivial things as final scores, batting averages and even national championships.

In the end they are all just fun and games, played for our amusement.

This was much bigger than that.

The Boston Marathon became a symbol of our hope Monday afternoon. It became bigger than a race, larger than the winner and much more important than his time.

It became about the average Joe, but in a situation that one should never be put in, and how he responded like a true hero.

Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi said winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.

But how we judge winning is actually just as important.

For last Monday, winning wasn’t about finishing first, it was about finishing the race.

Even if those last few steps were taken on those wobbly knees.

• • •

Jim Gazzolo is managing sports editor. Email him at

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