Oct. 13, 2012
Watch ESPN's Man in the Red Bandana
Chestnut Hiil, Mass. - A number of Boston College athletes took part in the eighth annual Welles Remy Crowther Red Bandana Run on Saturday morning. The run, a 5k race held each October, honors Crowther, a former BC lacrosse player who lost his life saving others during the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.
Members of the baseball, softball and track teams ran while the women's lacrosse team volunteered, making bags given out to participants and handing out water along the course. The field hockey staff team also ran, while the players did a relay walk of their games on Friday and Sunday.
Crowther was an equities trader in the south tower of the World Trade Center on September 11. Months after the attacks, survivors began piecing together stories of the events and Crowther's heroic acts came to light. Crowther used the last hour of his life to save the lives of others, using a red bandanna to cover his nose and mouth as protection against smoke and debris. Crowther had carried a red bandanna in his pocket since his father gave him one as a child, and it became his trademark as he wore one under his helmet as a BC lacrosse player.
The road race takes place each year on the Boston College campus and is held as an annual tribute to Welles. The race is co-sponsored by the Boston College Volunteer and Service Learning Center and the Welles Remy Crowther Charitable Trust.
Knowing Crowther's story adds extra pride to being an Eagle for many of the athletes who took part in the run.
"BC athletes, we all share an inner Eagle that we all relate to each other," said Maria Pandolfo, a senior outfielder on the softball team. "The fact that one of us did something like that makes us proud. The fact that people went around saying this BC athlete did this kind of thing is just a sense of pride for him and our BC family."
The women's lacrosse team takes extra pride in Crowther's story given that they are the representation of lacrosse in the BC community.
"It's a privilege to us," said Ali Meagher, a junior on the lacrosse team. "There's no varsity men's team so we step in as the women's team. It's really nice to meet the Crowther family in person. It's a true honor."
The run is an opportunity for these teams to get involved in the community, something that the athletes take are committed to. Nate Bayuk, a graduate student and left-handed pitcher on the baseball team, sees the run as an opportunity to create a culture of giving back that emphasizes the Jesuit roots of BC and the idea of men and women for others. It is also a chance for reflection, to put things in perspective as the student-athletes think back to their own experiences from that tragic day and connect it to Crowther's story.
"It was obviously such a horrible day in our country's history," Bayuk said. "When I got here, the fact that someone so close to the BC family was involved and his story is unbelievable. All those people saying a man with a red bandana was saving all these lives. For me, if something as simple as being involved can make any difference, it is really the least we can do."
Pandolfo echoed Bayuk saying, "The day affects everyone individually. It's special to be [associated] with someone who ended up saving lives. It's nice to be a part of an institution where a BC athlete saved all those lives."
After running last year, Pandolfo saw the run as an opportunity to teach the younger players an important lesson about being an athlete at The Heights.
"[His parents] said before the run, `When you want to stop, think of Welles. Did he stop?' I took that attitude during the race but then took that message back with me for my whole life," Pandolfo said.
Bayuk also believes that the run is a good way to show his younger teammates what being an Eagle is all about.
"We have a lot of young guys," he said. "I think it'is very important to show them things like this. If they can learn early on, it's going to help them develop as a people and start breeding good characters in our program and our school."
Written by senior Eddie Lockhart