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updated: 6/20/2013 9:33 PM

Sympathy no part of who wins, loses in sports

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A spasm of sentimentality circulated through my soul the other day.

It passed quickly.

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It felt for a moment that Blackhawks fans should be ashamed of themselves for wanting to deprive Boston of relief from its storm.

But let's face it: If there's no crying in baseball specifically, there's certainly no sympathizing in sports generally.

No, not even for an entire community that has experienced pain and suffering.

Sympathy in sports is for saps. More appropriate is to kick a guy when he's down, figuratively and sometimes literally.

What does any of this have to do with the current Stanley Cup Final between the Hawks and the Bruins, which is returning to the United Center tied at 2-2?

Well, even though Boston still is recovering from the Marathon bombings it's OK to pull for the Hawks. Not that anyone around here has hesitated to do so, of course.

Protocol for such matters was established a month after the twin towers went down at New York in 2001, when the World Series matched the Yankees against the Diamondbacks.

The question was what takes precedence for Yankee haters, rooting against the Yanks or rooting for the city they represent.

No federal law mandated that anyone had to love the Yankees, so the haters rejoiced over Arizona's victory. Just as there is a separation of church and state in America, there is a separation of sports and compassion.

Take the whole upper body/lower body in the NHL. The concern over specifying an injury is that opponents will target the area if they know what body part is in pain.

In other words, hit him where he hurts.

Nobody feels sorry for anybody in sports. They might say they do, but they don't mean it, do they?

Boston's predicament is altogether different from a single player's health issue. An entire geographic region was wounded when terrorists planted bombs that killed people during the Marathon.

Ever since that Monday in April, Boston has been reaching for anything that would ease for a while the hardships resulting from that terrible afternoon.

Diversion is among the most useful and powerful purposes that sports serve.

The Bruins have warmed the hearts of Boston by skating through the playoffs and into the Stanley Cup Final.

"I think we can help in probably a large way," Bruins coach Claude Julien said this week. "Everybody is looking right now for something to cheer about, smile about. I guess it doesn't fix the things or the people that have been lost. That will never be fixed. At the same time you have to try to heal."

The Bruins divert minds that for a couple of months have had trouble moving on from Marathon day.

"It's tough to speak to that, but I'm hoping, yeah," Bruins forward Shawn Thornton said of contributing to the healing process. "We love this city. If it helps, then amazing. If that's helping, we're extremely happy that it's given a little bit (to the healing process)."

However, Thornton acknowledged the reality of life in relation to the fantasy of sports.

"It's tough trying to relate (the bombings) to a sport," he said. "Just to put that into the same perspective as a hockey game, I think it isn't right either."

Perhaps elsewhere in America the Boston Bruins are sentimental favorites, but in Chicago it's OK to view the Stanley Cup Final as nothing more than sports.

You know, just as the World Series was when fans in Arizona and anywhere else found it OK to root against a New York team in the autumn of 2001.

Blackhawks fans can contribute to a fund that aids victims of the Boston Marathon bombings and then cheer for the Hawks to beat the Bruins.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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