Sheanon Williams hails from Boston. He loves Boston.
When the Philadelphia Union defender heard the tragic news stemming from the Boston Marathon on Monday, he was sickened. And worried.
Three people were reported dead and more than 150 were injured following explosions near the finish line.
In a nearby office, Williams’ father was working.
Talk about scary.
“It was just kind of to make sure he was OK,” Williams said of his father. “You never know, he could have walked over there just to take in the sights. I know a lot of people do. It’s common for everyone in Boston who has the day off and just kind of go down and watch and then branch off and do whatever. Our strength and conditioning coach, his wife, was in the race and she finished 30 minutes before. Just scary stuff like that, you know you’re right there and could have been affected.”
Once the initial shock wore off, Williams called his father.
Watch: Bio bites: Sheanon Williams
“I remember it just kind of popped up on SportsCenter,” he said. “It’s one of those things that you look at it and you just wonder what happened. My first instinct was to make sure my family was OK. My dad works on the next street over, so I called him. He was fine. He was working and didn’t hear anything and obviously wasn’t affected. A couple friends that I know go down there and a friend’s cousin was affected. It’s hard.”
The Union will travel down I-95 to face rival D.C. United Sunday night at RFK Stadium.
Williams isn’t exactly sure how he’ll honor the victims of this horrific attack, but he will do something.
“I’ll definitely have something on my shoes,” Williams said. “I haven’t decided what yet. It definitely hits home just because I grew up there.”
In the post 9/11 world, it’s a much scarier atmosphere for everyone, including professional athletes.
Like all athletes, it made Williams stop and think.
“That’s something you don’t think is going to happen to you,” Williams said. “A lot of people say that and you look at the Boston Marathon and that could have happened to anybody. You like to think that these arenas are safe, that these events are safe. You kind of put your trust in the people whose jobs are to make these events safe. It’s definitely pretty hard.
“It’s something you have to put out of your mind. At least when I’m on the field, the only thing I can see is who’s on the field. I don’t pay attention to the stands or who’s yelling things at me. So it’s definitely something I’ve learned to deal with and focus on the game but it’s definitely something that some players can’t do and what I can do it’s tough.”
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at email@example.com