I was wondering why I felt so much like pure trash after Ryan's passing was announced. I wondered why it felt like such a terrible thing to lose someone you never knew, and you'd likely never have known.
Then I thought about how much I listened to the GB crew over the years, including at GameSpot proper. It was the personalities that helped me realize a few important things about my own personality.
For one, Ryan, Jeff, Vinny, Brad, and several others not only were proud of their love of certain things, they'd let no one stop them from expressing it. I used to be sort of afraid of showing my nerd badge, and hid it fairly well. I'd talk in a hushed tone about video games or anime or whatever other hobby I was into.
But the more I saw how boisterous people like Ryan were about their passions, how intelligent they were while articulating why they liked or loved something, I got louder, too. I let my freak flag fly, and was as silly on the outside as I felt on the inside. If these awesome people could be so nuts on camera or a podcast, with thousands tuning in, I could easily be a complete fool with barely anyone around.
I also became less scared of shutting people the f*** away from me if I didn't like their personality - instead of wasting my time, I just let folks be if they let me be. It was just part of cementing myself as myself.
And in all this, the GB crew overall were great accidental inspirations. Ryan was a huge part of this. His apparent nature of just being a big, laughing, smiling, joking, comforting man-bear helped me a lot. As I got older, I cared less and less and less about others' opinions of me in any way other than my work ethic. I got to love being there for people, being supportive, being good and honest, telling awful jokes, being corny - that's who the eff I am.
So thanks Ryan. Thanks for being there. I'll keep polishing my nerd badge and remembering how awesome you were, and that you were so awesome just because.