Boston loves its Red Sox, but after the team's World Series championship win Wednesday night at Fenway Park, many of the Boston faithful paid tribute to an entirely different sporting event, the Boston Marathon.
Amid the jubilation outside Fenway, which saw fans running through the streets, jumping on top of cabs -- and in some cases smashing car windows -- others headed to the Boston Marathon finish line on Boylston Street, where a terrorist attack sent the city into shock on April 15.
Video from Boylston Street showed fans kneeling and posing for photos at the finish line laid over the street.
At that site just months earlier, two bombs ripped through a similarly jubilant crowd, killing three people, injuring 260 more and touching off a manhunt that nearly shut down the city. (See below for photos of Wednesday night's celebration.)
"Boston Strongest," as the Boston.com homepage put it on Thursday morning, alluding to the "Boston Strong" slogan that the city's residents used to express their unity in recovering from the terrorist attack -- and also illustrating the blurred line between the city's civic identity and its devotion to the Sox.
Which comes as little surprise: Sports teams, as one of the few American cultural entities that can tie diverse city residents together in the 21st century, are also commonly given the role of healers after major tragedies.
After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the New York Yankees -- hardly anybody's idea of a sympathetic underdog under normal circumstances -- led an emotional charge through the playoffs and to the World Series, culminating in a wrenching seven-game loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks that nonetheless offered the city a little catharsis.
And so it went in joyful Boston on Wednesday night, with the city's actual guardians, the Boston Police Department, tweeting out its congratulations -- "Congrats to the 2013 World Champs!!! #BPD reminds all Sox fans to celebrate like champions!!!" It was appropriately followed by a much more sober alert: "#BPD reminding fans celebrating in & around Fenway to be respectful to both people and property."