“The Hokies” Sports message boards find new use after Virginia Tech Tragedy

jordon dods The Cavalier TodayThe Hokies Shall Prevail – Sports message boards find new use after Virginia Tech tragedy Web sites such as Thesabre.com, Techsideline.com provide forum for discussion, communication after yesterday morning’s shootings at Virginia Tech
by Eric Kolenich Cavalier Daily Senior Associate Editor

Blacksburg,VA(rushprnews) April 17, 2007- In the wake of yesterday’s tragedy at Virginia Tech, online sports message boards served a more important purpose, providing an outlet for people to report information about the shootings that killed 33 people.

With cell phone coverage limited yesterday in the Blacksburg area, many turned to sports message boards to communicate news reports as well as personal reactions to the day’s events. In fact, the two largest message boards for Virginia and Virginia Tech sports — Thesabre.com and Techsideline.com — have become completely devoted to discussion of the shootings.

Sabre administrators posted a message on the Tech site to inform users that the message boards could help facilitate dialogue and updates about the shootings.

“We at The Sabre understand that you may have periodic problems accessing the TSL and VT Web sites,” the message stated. “When this happens, you are welcome to use TheSabre.com’s off-topic message board to communicate and retrieve necessary information on today’s tragic events. You have our support and prayers during this trying time. Please pass the link around to your friends.”

News of the shootings first spread on the two boards around noon yesterday.

“Breaking news — shooting on VT campus!” one user wrote.

Soon after, a number of bloggers reported the status of family and friends at Tech.

“All family members at VT accounted for. I’m praying hard for others less fortunate,” one said.

Some individuals also expressed relief upon learning that loved ones had not been victimized.

“Little bro is ok….. phew….. locked down in one of the dorms…,” another wrote.

Many posted information reported on news broadcasts and gave their own reactions to the shootings. Soon, sports conversation had ceased altogether.

“Everyone is a Hokie today,” another blogger wrote. One Virginia fan suggested that Virginia students wear maroon and orange in support of Tech students and families.

As the day progressed, the two sites were crowded with comments expressing the powerful emotion evoked across the country. Commentary touched on the political fallout of the killings, as many users posted messages conveying frustration with reporters and pundits who accused Tech administrators of mishandling the tragedy as it unfolded.

Fans from other schools have used the message boards as a platform to offer their prayers to Virginia Tech, while local communities of Hokies across the country announced planned vigils.

“What a horrendous day for not only Virginia Tech but the entire state,” wrote one blogger on the Tech Sideline site. “You can count on prayers from Lynchburg from the Liberty University family for all of the victims, their families and friends.”

Virginia students also posted messages relaying information about vigils to be held around Grounds this week.

Cavalier fans have put their rivalry aside and are calling themselves “brothers” with fellow students and alumni at Virginia Tech.

“Never thought I’d say this, but Go Hokies,” wrote one blogger on the Sabre board.

Virginia Tech has canceled all athletic activities today. Neither the University nor the ACC have announced any plans to cancel other athletic events.

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