Penguins insider: Checking on and checking in to check out from Boston madness
The calls never stopped. From Mom to sources, questions and answers, only the answers provided little comfort and no certainty: Friday was beyond words for anybody in or around Boston.
That held true for members of the Penguins on lockdown at their hotel near Boston Common; for a Boston-based businessman who advised his client to return to Pittsburgh; for a Kittanning-born college intern, still shocked by the Boston Marathon bombings and increasingly rattled by a manhunt for one of the alleged suspects, who only wanted to hug her parents.
Downtown Boston is about five miles from Watertown, which over the course of 12 or so hours Friday became the second-most famous town in Massachusetts.
An alleged terrorist, a 19-year-old with reported intentions of killing innocent people, was on the loose. Under mostly sunny skies, he was successfully avoiding capture despite being chased by federal, state and local authorities.
Still, at the team hotel across the street from Boston's connected public parks (The Common) and another hotel in Chelsea (about 10 miles from Watertown), there was no sense of imminent danger.
Penguins forward Craig Adams said he felt “safe.” Root Sports Pittsburgh broadcaster Bob Errey said he left the team hotel at least once to take a short walk.
Out-of-town sports reporters considered gathering Friday night somewhere in the city even if the lockdown had not been lifted around 5 p.m. They, like the locals, wanted to let off some steam, knock back a few, get lost in the distraction of catching a game on TV.
Fear turned to restlessness faster than it should have Friday.
That made sense to an employee at the hotel in Chelsea. She lives near Cambridge, where the alleged terrorist spent most of his youth.
Local TV had been almost nonstop with the marathon bombings fallout since Monday. Coverage was unavoidable, the Chelsea hotel employee said.
She tried to avoid it, but her phone constantly was receiving texts from family or friends — always with a similar message: Did you see what they're saying now?
The texts never stopped, she said.
She smiled and added it would be nice to catch a breath.
That was just after noon, when the lockdown felt like it might last forever.
There was not much to do at the hotel in Chelsea, where it was tough to tell if local businesses had closed for the day or for good.
Chelsea is not among the best parts of Boston, I learned through Twitter followers, some of whom offered to put me up if the lockdown extended for several days.
I had expected texts and calls from family and friends, but strangers on social media offering to open their homes — that was most unexpected.
Not unexpected was my sense of frustration.
For most of Friday, there was no way into or around Boston — transit was shut down, taxi service halted, rental vehicles unavailable.
Something was happening somewhere, and I just wanted to know what it was.
So calls were placed, texts were sent, in an effort to try to find out anything.
A distraction was needed.
Friday in and around Boston was beyond words.
That is why the calls had to never stop.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.