If forced, I could probably write something related to the playing of football in my weekly post. I might have to rack my brain to think of something, but I could probably do it. It would be forced, but it would fill space, and hopefully engage the Aston Villa Life community. Doing so would feel like whistling past the graveyard, as for me the week has been all about matters off the pitch.

As some of you may be aware, I am not a Brummie, English, or even a Brit. Living in Beverly, Mass, just twenty or so miles north of Boston, the bombing at the Boston Marathon is on everyone’s mind in my part of the world. For me, personally, I avoid the news and spend less time on social media to try and not think about what happened. Matt and Kristina reached out to me on Monday to make sure I was OK. Luckily I didn’t take the day off and was at work in Beverly when it happened. Spending all day in a call center I had no idea the gravity of the situation.

Two of my cousins were in town with their spouses to watch the special 11AM Red Sox game. Luckily, they didn’t walk the mile and a half from Fenway to the finish line after the game. My best friend works in Boston. I spent an hour and a half talking to him when he finally got out of the city that evening. MBTA police told subway riders to be extra vigilant, and everyone was on edge the entire time. My friend’s brother is a nurse at Mass General Hospital. He was off on Monday, was called in, and didn’t leave until Tuesday as he was helping to treat the wounded. My girlfriend was, thankfully, nowhere near Copley Square. She is an editor for a community newspaper, and was tracking the runners from her town online when all hell broke loose. Instead of writing about local runners accomplishing a feat most of us would never consider attempting, she had to write stories like this.

While avoiding as much of the media coverage and social media comments as possible, I couldn’t escape this picture of eight year-old victim Martin Richard. If that doesn’t break your heart it can only mean that you don’t have one.

While not technically a Bostonian, I consider myself a Bostonian. Boston itself is small in terms of square mileage. Pretty much anybody who lives within Rte 128 considers themselves a Bostonian to some degree. As such, the events do hit close to home. While sad and grieving, we Bostonians are not terrorized or broken. Lest there be any doubt, listen to the crowd from Wednesday night’s Bruins game. Comedian Stephen Colbert may have had the best response to the pathetic cowards responsible.

In light of these events, the news that our captain Stiliyan Petrov is winning his battle against leukemia was a welcome piece of good news. After reading the text of his interview with the club’s official site, it was nice to feel my eyes well up a bit for positive reasons. While there is no doubt he has been sorely missed on the pitch at times this season, news that he is finished with his intensive chemotherapy regimen and is starting to live a normal life again felt as exhilarating as any win on the pitch. While Stan has been out, the media has respected his privacy so none of us really knew how he was doing. To hear he is doing well was quite the relief.

Monday Villa will go out and try to win somewhere they have only won in the league once in the past thirty years. My expectations are barely above zero. That’s all I got.

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