Metro, Column, Boston

Finding The Right Marathon Shirt

If you Google image search “Marathon Monday Shirts,” the first picture you will see is a group of 12 neon-orange-baseball-hat clad girls posing in a Mod, with a red solo cup positioned ever so obviously on their standard pine Boston College table. Their shirts read in turquoise Impact font, “Let’s Get Ready To Stumble.”

I first learned about Marathon Monday as my father, myself, and a dozen or so other wide-eyed families were cheerfully escorted past Gasson Hall during the late August before my senior year in high school. As she backwards-walked Linden Lane, my Sperry-wearing tour guide gave an overwhelming but mystifying 10-minute debriefing on the legend of Marathon Monday­-what she termed the biggest drinking day on campus.

The 6 a.m. wake up call to a campus-wide snap of opening Rubinoff handles was enough to get pre-college Sarah excited-my father understandably less so-so when the reality of experiencing my first Marathon Monday materialized in the form of tank top-related Facebook groups, I couldn’t have been happier.

Of course my roommates and I scavenged social media for the best shirt-overwhelmed by sleeveless, American flag, and cheesy slogan-plastered options, considering for a brief moment to make our own and then quickly deciding that was too much effort.

I ended up buying two-I know, so eager-and am not entirely sure of what they look like, but I am fairly positive that they amount to some customized compilation of footprints and alcohol-related innuendos.

Although I have yet to wake up for one of those fated Mondays, just by looking through the “Marathon 2014 Tank” groups on Facebook it is clear that BC students may have lost sight of why we line Comm. Ave. to begin with. Yes, it is probably fun to drunkenly stumble around campus and it is definitely nice that we don’t have any classes, but shouldn’t Marathon Monday be about the Marathon?

We wake up not to cram a few extra Natty Lights in our Mile 21 fanny packs but to cheer on the people who actually made it up and over Heartbreak Hill-people who have been training for months to run a distance that finds significance rooted in a legend that asserts the feat cannot be done. Even before the tragedy that occurred last year, Marathon Monday has always had a special place in the hearts of the Boston community that our BC tradition-however fun-seems distant from.

I’m no better than the Google image girls, really. I ordered my Marathon tanks, and I am still looking forward to the madness that surrounds that Monday. The designers at Good Question Ink, however, have seemed to find a way to reconcile my hypocritical reasoning.

A fairly small online t-shirt company, Good Question Ink has created a better shirt to sport on Marathon Monday. Free of any alcohol-related suggestions, not only does their shirt highlight the strength of the city after last year’s Marathon bombings with its text reading “Does your city have sole?” but more than half of the proceeds go to a Marathon-related charity of the buyer’s choice.

I don’t think that BC students should refrain from our drunken tradition on that morning, but I do think that we could better consider why we are celebrating in the first place and the small statement that a donation can make seems to quell my concerns with our motives.

To my satisfaction, it seems as if some BC students have already taken this into consideration, as a portion of the sales from multiple tanks are going to organizations including GlobeMed and the Wellesley Education Foundation. In the end, as long as we line Comm. Ave. with pride, I’m not really sure it matters what tank top we wear, but wearing one that supports last year’s Marathon victims seems more encouraging than “Let’s Get Ready to Stumble.”

April 2, 2014