Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Mourning Becomes Virtual

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had a couple of stories this Sunday that grabbed my attention. In "Reality of a Death Saddens the Virtual World," Gabrielle Banks tells the fascinating, sad story of Shiva Kumar, an 18-year-old virtual game player and leader who drowned in January. While about 75 friends, teachers and relatives attended Kumar's funeral, the thousands of gamers who had become his friend in cyberspace but had never heard his voice or met him in person are still trying to figure out how to mourn. Banks deserves credit for recognizing how one teen's death sheds light on a world few adults are familiar with.

Also in Sunday's Post-Gazette, Chico Harlan tells us the surprising story of Rohan Murphy, a Penn State wrestler with no legs. In "Going to the Mat for What he Loves," Harlan avoids the obvious potential for pathos and instead uses wonderfully vivid and crisp language to share with us a tale of great courage.


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