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Amid National Grief, an Open Letter to the Philadelphia Phillies

A Father Struggles with His Emotions After the Boston Marathon Bombings and Takes Some Comfort in the Game He Loves

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | Dear Philadelphia Phillies,

I want to thank you for the last two nights against the Cincinnati Reds, even though you frustrated the heck out of me. I want to thank you for wasting wonderful pitching performances by Cliff Lee and Kyle Kendrick. I want to thank you for making Bronson Arroyo and Homer Bailey both look like the reincarnation of Cy Young. I want to thank you for making Ben Revere's incredible catch and Chase Utley's dramatic pinch-hit home run be futile.

You see, I'm a dad, like Bill Richard is a dad. He was running in the Boston Marathon on Monday when his 8-year-old son Martin was killed by a bomb blast. Martin was waiting for his dad at the finish line with his mom and sister when two bombs went off. Both his mom and sister were badly wounded.

I'm a dad like William Campbell Jr. is a dad. His daughter, 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, was waiting at the finish line with a friend, hoping to see Krystle's boyfriend come across. William Campbell heard Krystle was injured and their daughter's friend was killed in the bombing. When he got to the hospital and was permitted to enter Krystle's room, he discovered her friend instead. In the chaos, authorities had confused their identities.

I'm a dad like an unidentified grieving man somewhere in China is a dad. He is the proud father of a Boston University graduate student who was watching at the finish line with two fellow students when the bombs went off. The BU student from China was killed. The second student is recovering from surgery and the third escaped injury.

I'm a dad like the dads of many of the 145 other people savaged by this heinous act. Many of them were critically injured. Many of them lost limbs. Perhaps all of them, perhaps everyone who was in the vicinity of the Boston Marathon finish line at the moment of the bombings, face an uncertain emotional recovery.

I'm a dad and when I first heard about this, all I wanted to do was hug my 15-year-old son, who resists such displays of affection anymore. We take so much for granted in this life, such as being safe for the next five minutes, the next week or the next year. We dads can certainly feel the pain of another parent who has lost a child, even though such grief is really unimaginable.

I felt these emotions on Monday until I watched Cliff Lee take the mound in Cincinnati. I cursed the feeble Phillies offense throughout the night. Then in the bottom of the 8th, I wanted to create a Jeremy Horst voodoo doll and stick pins in it after watching the Reds go ahead for good. I felt these emotions again on Tuesday until I cursed the feeble Phillies offense and wondered throughout the evening why the heck they were playing this game in such crappy weather in the first place.

I thank you Phillies because you managed to take me away from feeling our national pain, even for just a little while. You allowed me to escape into the games that we love, even when we hate how they're turning out. Maybe there are times when it doesn't matter if you're winning or losing, as long as you're playing the game.

For me, it helped. And I wanted to tell you I appreciated it.


A dad

Ted Williams lives in Emmaus, PA and is a lifetime Phillies follower. He spent 20 years in print journalism, winning state and national awards. He covered the 1980 World Series, the first championship in Phillies history.

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