The New York Yankees are one of many teams from around the country that have rallied around Boston in the wake of Monday's trajedy. (Kathy Willens/AP)

The New York Yankees are one of many teams from around the country that rallied around Boston in the wake of Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon. (Kathy Willens/AP)

One of the beauties of sports is that the games matter to us because we want them to matter, not because they actually do. When the harsh reality of tragedy interrupts the normal progression of practices, games, and results, it is a reminder of the privilege of leisurely pursuits.

Following the bombings Monday at the Boston Marathon that left three people dead and dozens wounded, there have been thoughtful and touching tributes from teams, athletes and fans.

In the first major sporting event in Boston since the attack, the Boston Bruins hosted the Buffalo Sabres Wednesday night at TD Garden. On their helmets, players from both teams wore “Boston Strong” decals in the shape of a ribbon of blue and gold, the Boston Marathon’s official colors. But the game’s most memorable moment came even before the puck dropped. Singer Rene Rancourt, a fixture at Bruins home games for more than three decades, turned over his duties midway through the national anthem, playing maestro to the unified voice of the crowd.

 

Boston Bruins, National Anthem at TD Garden, April 17, 2013

 

The Chicago Tribune used the front page of the sports section Tuesday to declare unity with Boston with a striking visual beginning with “We are Chicago Red Sox” and listing all of Boston’s professional teams.

On Monday night, New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola tweeted that he would donate $100 for every catch (and $200 for every dropped pass) he makes during the upcoming season.

Normally the bane of Red Sox fans, the New York Yankees held a moment of silence at Yankee Stadium after the third inning of Tuesday’s game against Arizona and played Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” a staple of Fenway Park’s playlist. A sign on the outside wall of Yankee Stadium read “United We Stand” with both the Boston and New York team logos.

The Boston Celtics were scheduled to host the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night, but the game was canceled out of respect for the victims of the attacks. Both teams had already clinched playoff spots, and the game wouldn’t have had any impact on seedings. Citing STATS, the Boston Globe reported that it’s the first time in NBA history that teams will finish the regular seasons having played a different number of games than the rest of the league.

Martin Kessler contributed to this report.