"They wanted to know why I did what I did -- Well sir I guess there's just a meanness in this world." From the song Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen

Another day, another incident of murder and mayhem. So what's new? Nothing surprising about it. Not at all. It's just one more tragic, needless example of this crazy, mixed-up, violent world in which we live.

And as sad as it may be, we'd better get used to it because it's only going to get worse. Frightening, to be sure, but horrifically true nonetheless. To think otherwise is naïve and perhaps even dangerous. To ignore it and hope it just goes away could cost you your life.

While the rest of America went about its normal Monday business, the city of Boston's biggest event of the year - the Boston Marathon - was just getting under way. By all accounts, it was a perfect day for the thousands of runners and spectators who jammed into the city to take part in and witness one of the greatest sporting traditions in U.S. history.

Bostonians take great pride in hosting the annual marathon and are rightfully proud to show off their historic city and all it has to offer. More than a 26-mile race, it's a celebration of spring and the community in general. There are no "bad vibes" associated with the athletic extravaganza.

Smiles and positive thoughts are the rule as the runners and their fans line up for the colorful and historic start. Those dedicated souls who worked long and hard to prepare and qualify for the marathon are filled with anticipation as they await the chance to "get 'er done." After all, running and completing any marathon is a testament to perseverance, self-discipline and sacrifice, and being able to participate in arguably the No. 1 marathon in the world is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

It represents the culmination of hour after grueling hour of training, and to finish the race is considered a tremendous personal accomplishment ... as well it should be. To take part in the Boston Marathon represents the epitome of long-distance running. Simply put: It's a race like no other. It's an enduring American tradition.

To read the rest of Rick Fromm's award-winning column subscribe to Decorah Newspapers at 563-382-4221 for just 34 cents an issue. Or purchase one at any of the many convenient locations in Decorah and throughout Winneshiek County.