Friday, February 5, 2010

Condolences for a Young Boy

I was searching YouTube for some general Sonic pictures in preparation for a blog post I wanted to do. They were mostly Sonic & Mario pictures, but I'll get to that later. I came across this picture of Sonic holding a Wiimote and Mario standing next to him; the quintessential game industry rivals.

But they're not who I want to talk about now. No, I want to talk about little boy named Hunter Addison Vongphrachanh, a talented hardcore videogamer and avid fan of the Italian plumber in blue overalls (and quite a lady's man, too!). He was born in the year 2000 to Tamara Vongphrachanh and a loving family with two siblings, Casey and Alexis (I don't think the father's name was listed). He was the cutest little lady's man this side of the US, and when he wasn't whispering sweet-nothings into the ears of captive chicas, he was beating 15-year old kids at videogames. Yeah. If you can't guess from the picture, he's six years old in that. He was five when he achieved victory. What a champ.

Hunter passed away four years ago under undisclosed circumstances. His mother made a memorial page for her beloved son, and many friends and family contributed to the page their condolences and images representing what he loved best: Mario, Sonic, videogames, and Dr. Thunder cola. Man, with a name like that, I'd drink it. Dr. Thunder sounds so much more awesome than that Dr. Pepper junk.

Normally I would've went my way looking for other images, but I decided to stop and read the page on a whim, and much of what I read simply touched my heart. I'm just a young guy going to college, relaxing at home when I'm not studying, and spending most of my time talking with people on the internet about mostly trivial stuff, but stuff I love nonetheless. Other times I'm working out, playing videogames, or making pizza with my brother on the weekends. I spend most of my time at home, and I'm no saint, not really religious, and not exactly the best guy around; no one special. But all I had to do was stop for a moment to develop a soft spot for this kid and their family's horrible loss. I can only barely imagine the pain they've had to suffer, but I know if it happened to me, I would never be the same.

What really got me were the mother's poems, and they remind me of my own mother and how much she cares about me and my brother. They're a clear, honest expression of how she can never be happy without her son. A parent should never have to suffer the death of their children. That is the most crushing sorrow a human being can experience, and my heart goes out to her and her family. There's nothing anyone can say to comfort her except that we hear her grief and that we're with her. She's not alone, and neither is her family.

Now, why I am posting this here of all places? Make no mistake, I'm not doing this as some sort of high-and-mighty display of piety meant to shame everyone who dared going looking on the internet for stuff about videogames or Sonic the Hedgehog. That would be asinine and annoying. Rather, I'm doing this because I simply happened to find the page by blind chance, and so I wanted to write about it. If anything more than that, it's to appeal to everyone's empathic side for a moment, putting aside things we normally gripe about or take for granted, like every single petty rant, diatribe, and flame war that's been had over characters like Sonic the Hedgehog, Mario, Star Fox, and Master Chief over the many years that have passed. The people we argue with, agree with, ridicule, hate, love, or simply can't stand are as much people doing the same thing you're doing: spending time on the internet talking about what you want to or engaging in sporty debate. More to the point, some of those people, no matter how much they get on your nerves, are probably kids like Hunter.

Well, ok, frankly I'd put Hunter a step higher judging from his memorial page information. Some kids are just spoiled rotten, and even I've been guilty of that behavior sometimes. Embarrassing.

So, all I'm asking is that you take some time to think about your own parents, your siblings, and all those kids that are "ruining Sonic the Hedgehog", and remember Hunter. It won't make people stop debating or arguing, but then that was never my intention in the first place. Free speech is everyone's right, and a powerful tool of communication. I just thought I'd use it at least once to acknowledge this family and encourage other people to offer their condolences and keep this kid's family in their minds and hearts, as well as others who've suffered like they have. Thanks for the time, guys, and stay tuned for more Sonic news and news-musings in the future. Peace.

Here's the memorial page:

PS: Sorry if I bummed you guys out, but that's life. Stay tuned for more enjoyable buffoonery as the story of Sonic the Hedgehog 4 develops.


  1. This is Hunter's sister, Alexis. This was a delightful and beautiful surprise. My mom, similar to how you found Hunter's site, found yours "by blind chance." Thank you so much for this. It's touched the hearts of my family. I hope you get to see this, because I want you to know the ultimate gratitude that I hold for you and this article. Thank you incredibly much.

  2. This wasn't by found this for a reason. The world is full of good people. Maybe Hunter wanted you guys to find this. To: TheRaveMan thank for your kind thoughts. Your willingness to take a little time to write some wonderful words about a little boy you never met has meant a lot to this family. This shows the true meaning of Random Act of Kindness and shows that there are beautiful selfless people out there. Thank you.

    Chris W.

  3. This is Tiffany (Hunters eldest cousin)
    Like Alexis I want to just tell you thank you. It means the world to his family. He got his love for video games from his mom. She is an amazing person and just thank you for letting other people know about him. And god bless.

  4. To Hunter's family:

    I don't know what to say. I haven't been back here in a while, and if it weren't for Arun being a thoughtful guy that checks up on me every so often, I would never had read what you all had to say. Thanks Arun, and thank you all for reading and for your kind words. It's the least I could've done.

  5. TheRaveman, This is Tamara(Hunters proud mom)I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. You dont know how much this has meant to me and my family. I try to do what I can to make sure Hunter is alwas remembered cus in my eyes he was perfect and the best little gaming partner I couldve had. Hunter was an organ donor because I thought maybe he could help some other child and keep other parents from suffering like we have. We have never heard from the recipient other than a letter(thru the donor agency) saying how the guy is able to live a normal life now and is doing good. So when I stumbled on to this it brought tears of joy to me to know someone who never knew Hunter took the time to read about him and to take the time to write this blog. I was hoping you would see this because we really appreciate it as it has made us so happy and it was trully sincere of you. I would also like to thank Arun for notifying you we wanted you to know how much it meant to us and he was able to help relay the message. Thank you again The RaveMan and Arun you make us know there are still good people in the world.