Charlie Coyle wasn’t a member of the Boston Bruins in 2013 when the B’s were the first team to play a pro sports game in Boston following the marathon bombings or when they went on to push all the way to the Stanley Cup Final against the Blackhawks.
In fact, Coyle was finishing up his rookie year with the Minnesota Wild once the compacted regular season got going following the half-season lockout. Still, the native of East Weymouth, Mass., now 28, remembers watching the pivotal, symbolic role that the Bruins played from afar.
Coyle knows first-hand about Boston banding together in times of daunting difficulty and challenge because, when it’s all said and done, he is one of us.
Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App
That’s what Coyle is witnessing right now as the coronavirus outbreak has pushed the community around Boston into new challenges with social distancing and self-quarantine requirements. There are helpers everywhere looking to do things for those in need, whether it’s picking up groceries for older, at-risk folks or police and firefighters paying tribute to courageous hospital workers who are putting their lives on the line.
Maybe it’s because we’ve all been through something traumatic in the recent past with the marathon bombings in the rear-view mirror, but people around Boston are again looking, first and foremost, to help and then shine a light on those first responders, medical personnel, grocery store workers, truck drivers, pharmacists, nursing home caretakers and others risking everything for our safety.
“I remember that day [of the bombings, April 15, 2013] and everybody affected by it. It was such a crazy time. Really hard times. To see everybody come together made you very proud to be from this area, to be from Boston,” said Coyle. “All the people and Boston Strong, and that whole aspect make you want to keep living by that [motto]. What we’re going through now is another obstacle that we all have to come together to do our part and get past this to overcome it.
“In these hard times, it helps bring everybody together working toward a common goal. We all know what that is right now. I’d love to get back to our normal lives, and for me, that’s playing hockey and doing something I love to do. I know everybody else it’s the same thing. People are getting laid off from their jobs and they are scratching and clawing to provide for themselves and their families. You don’t want to see that happen. But that’s where we’re at right now, so [it’s about] everybody helping each other. You see a lot of it right now. There’s a lot of great people that are doing their part to help out. You see everybody coming together in these tough times. It says a lot about where we’re all from and about Boston as a whole.”
It sure does, Charlie.
It’s amazing that the marathon bombings took place seven years ago today. Certainly, there are wounds that are never going to heal for the permanently maimed victims situated near the finish line and for the five poor souls who ultimately lost their lives and their families.
Still, the seven years have also been a testament to how Boston pushed through the tragedy, helped each other heal and ultimately made us even stronger and more resilient.
Let's hope Coyle’s inspiring words will become prophetic and the people of Boston will reach new heights with our courage, selflessness and our ability to help each other out while the coronavirus does damage to our community’s health, and just as importantly, hits our economy that supports everybody in the region.
We know it’s in us and we know that we rise to the challenge when tough times arise. These might be the toughest that we’ve ever faced whether we’re Bruins players, sportswriters, retail workers or small business owners that have been stunned the past month.
But whether your name is Coyle, Haggerty or anything in between in this wonderful Commonwealth, one thing is important to remember as things seemingly get tougher each day: We’re all in this together and we’re all going to get through this together.