These past few days have been both very trying and enlightening for me. The CBS Community has lost one of their own. Ryan Patrich Knoch (AKA: DGNR8 on CBS Sportsline) passed away last Thursday, July 15,2010. Ryan was born on November 1, 1973 making him just shy of 37 years old. Ryan leaves two young sons without a father.
I personally got to know Ryan very well through our interaction here on CBS and on Facebook. At first, he came across to me as just another loud mouthed kid just passing time on an internet message board. We all know the type. But it didn't take long to see past his on-line persona and get to know the real DGNR8. It helped that I have a son of my own that is just about the same age so I had some experience in ferreting out the fluff from the substance. Ryan was an extremely witty, articulate and passionate person and I will miss him a lot.
But this blog (my first and my last) isn't about Ryan. It's about relationships between people that have never met each other. A group of CBS posters made up mainly of Browns and Steelers fans have spent the past three days on two separate threads coming together to wish Ryan's family well during this time.
Most have expressed an interest in contributing to a college fund for his children and are wondering how to do so. Virtually all have expressed shock and dismay over the passing of such a young man. A few (myself included) have openly admitted to crying when they heard the news. There have been posts citing scripture, posts recalling some of Ryan's more (shall we say) flamboyant debates, and others wishing they could have gotten to know Ryan better or sooner. Lifelong Steelers fans flying an Avatar with a Browns motif as a show of respect. At this writing, there have been almost 160 posts with over 4,100 views between the two threads. Mind you, these are mainly Browns and Steelers fans. Folks that normally go out of their way just to belittle each other!All this for a person they have never met! All this for a man they have never looked in the eye. All this for someone whose hand they have never shaken. It has restored my faith that behind that computer screen, for the most part there are good people out there. People of flesh and blood who have the same problems as the rest of us. People who care enough about one another that they put aside their allegiance to a particular team to become human.