The MMA Corner’s Brian McKenna, a Boston resident, looks back on one of the craziest weeks in recent history after the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15.

Normalcy.

That is what us Bostonians want—a return to normalcy. But after what was one of the craziest weeks in the history of the city, it is hard to return to the way things were prior to the events of April 15, which was just one week ago today.

Annually, the third Monday in April in Massachusetts is Patriots’ Day. People have the day off of work in order to commemorate the Battles of Lexington and Concord, which were the first battles of the Revolutionary War and the site of “the shot heard ’round the world.” For the people of Massachusetts, it is more than just a day off from work, but rather a statewide celebration of “The Bay State.” Thousands head to the Battle Green in Lexington early in the morning to watch the reenactment of the battle, where Captain John Parker, the leader of the Lexington militia, emerged from Buckman Tavern to lead his men against the British soldiers.

Citizens flock to the state’s capital city of Boston, where annually the Red Sox schedule their game to start at 11:05 a.m. to let those in attendance exit the stadium to enjoy the major event that also takes place on Patriots’ Day: the running of the Boston Marathon. On this particular Patriots’ Day, the city was vibrant. It was a beautiful spring day after what many would have called a haunting winter. For all intents and purposes, despite what the calendar officially said, it was the first day of spring for Boston, and the city was celebrating by lining the streets from Hopkinton to Boylston Street.

While some of the fans who were at the marathon had just come from Fenway Park, others had tickets in their pockets to attend the Bruins game later that night, while some simply wanted to enjoy the day, watching the runners pass by and maybe cheer on a family member or friend as they finished the race.

But everything changed just before 3 p.m. in the afternoon, as two explosions went off at the finish line, 12 seconds apart from one another. Instantaneously, what had previously been a statewide celebration turned into utter and sheer panic as three innocent lives were taken as a result of the blasts, along with over 175 people injured, many of whom were in critical condition. Just days later, the two suspects who were identified by the FBI took another innocent life, that of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer, and fled into the neighboring suburb of Watertown, where your average and typical town was transformed into a battlefield as the suspects and police engaged in a series of shootouts.

Since the capturing of the second suspect late Friday night, everyone in the region has taken a collective sigh of relief. More details are sure to be unveiled over the coming weeks, but it will never change what happened here in and around Boston. Time heals wounds, but it doesn’t change what happened.

More than anything else, us Bostonians want there to be a return to normalcy. Fortunately, sports tend to play a major role in the healing process. Saturday, the Red Sox, the Bruins and the Celtics played games, with the Sox and B’s playing in town. MMA fans like myself tuned into UFC on Fox 7, as a way to try and get back to life as we normally view it. However, we’re reminded of what happened when we look around to see flags at half-mast, where they should be. We’re reminded of what happened when we turn on the television and see pictures of the suspects, one of whom is seen wearing a Wai Kru t-shirt, a local MMA gym where UFC veteran John “Doomsday” Howard trains. We’re reminded by talking to others, of which each of us have multiple personal ties to someone or some part of the tragic events.

The "Boston Strong" Logo (bruins.nhl.com)

The professional sports teams in Boston have gone out of their way to honor first responders, doctors, police officers, victims and everyone else who has helped in the aftermath of the bombing. The Red Sox brought some out onto the field to throw the first pitch in the first game played at Fenway Park since Patriots’ Day. The Bruins honored others by bringing them onto the ice after their game on Sunday and having players skate over and hand them the jerseys off of their back. All of the teams have adjusted their jerseys to add a commemorative patch, honoring those involved.

In August, the UFC is planning on returning to the TD Garden in Boston for the second time in the promotion’s history. Considering UFC President Dana White has strong ties to the city, one can expect similar treatment despite the fact that the event takes place five months after that tragic day. While it wasn’t planned to help the city heal, it will definitely play its role in the process. It will be just one more thing for us to look forward to, and one more thing to help take our minds off of the innocent lives lost and the people injured.

Several thousand runners never got their chance to cross the finish line at the 117th running of the Boston Marathon. Not being able to finish the race in light of the events that took place feels trivial on the grand scheme of things, but as President Barack Obama said at an interfaith service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston on Thursday, “We will finish the race.” On April 15, 2014, those who didn’t get to will be able to finish at the 118th Boston Marathon, in front of not only Bostonians who left Fenway Park, drove over after watching the reenactment at the Battle Green in Lexington, or who just want to celebrate Patriots’ Day for what it is worth. As a city, we will move on and be stronger than ever, united as one. We will finish the race.

We here at The MMA Corner would like to express our condolences to the victims and their families of the Boston Marathon Bombing. We would also like to express our deepest gratitude to everyone involved in the healing of the victims and everyone involved in the apprehension of the suspects. To make a donation to help the people most affected by what transpired in Boston and the neighboring communities, please visit www.onefundboston.com. Thank you.

Photo: Boston Skyline (Wikipedia)

About The Author

Brian McKenna
Staff Writer

Brian McKenna was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. A sports nut from as long as he can remember, he came to be a fan of Mixed Martial Arts from a roommate watching The Ultimate Fighter while attending Westfield State College. Brian came to writing by starting his own blog, Four Down Territory, which focuses on Boston based sports, life, and of course MMA.