Goodbye Ryan, you were a true friend

I begin this post with the knowledge that Ryan would find whatever I plan say to be utterly stupid. Too sappy, too emotional, and not quite stupid enough. But this is the best way for me to express my thoughts and struggle to deal with the grief his passing has caused me.

Like many people who've posted today, I never knew Ryan. I never met him at PAX East. never spoke to him via email, and never was blocked on Twitter by him. I suppose I've sent in a few emails to the bombcast but none were ever read on air. And to be honest, none of that ever mattered much to me. What I've always loved about GB is that participating in this community and website makes me feel like I personally know every staff member who has appeared on camera, in print, or on the podcast.

I first encountered Ryan, Jeff and several others during their time on GS. I remember being so excited to come home on Fridays to watch On the Spot. I'm not sure I could really rationalize it at the time but even then I felt a connection to those guys. I didn't *know* them, and yet I did. I didn't have any friends who were into games the way I was and so Ryan and co. were my water cooler. When Jeff left and GS began to crumble, I was crushed.

Short of successfully getting a date with my current girlfriend and future wife, I'm not sure I've ever been so excited as when I learned, maybe a few months or so after the fact, that Ryan and Jeff were getting together to start GB. Probably danced a bit in my room, it meant that much to me. But why? It wasn't their reporting skills or the quality of their writing that I craved. I thought of Ryan, Jeff, and everyone else as friends I hadn't seen in a year or two. They weren't random internet personalities good for a laugh; they were people whose opinions I valued and to whom I turned when I needed a distraction.

Over the past few years, I've been through the same problems I'm sure everyone else deals with. To me, they were earth-shatteringly painful but in retrospect I'm no more bereaved than anyone else. And yet, whenever I've felt like my entire life was on fire, there was GB, just fucking around on camera and discussing things that had absolutely no relation to the problems I faced. Like good friends, the GB crew was always there to keep me going or just take my mind off things. This site has brought me so much happiness over the past few years and so much of who I am is the direct result of my admiration for the GB staff.

When I talk about the significance GB has had in my life, I do it with the knowledge that Ryan Davis is a huge part of that. I've always been impressed by his ability to seem like an out-of-control asshole while (kinda) gracefully directing all of GB's magic. To sit here and say that he was the only site personality I cared about would be stupid. But he was a part of something that has meant so much to me for so long. It helped shape who I am and helped get me to this place.

When I heard the news this morning I was completely shocked. Stunned. First I was stunned by the news, then stunned by my own reaction. Plenty of celebrities have died in my life and I've never given much of a shit. But this was different. Ryan Davis was family. He may not have known it, but his work has meant so much to me. Sitting on the floor of my room in tears, unable to function was one of the strangest, hardest things I've ever experienced. No one in my daily life knew or cared about Ryan and I couldn't have possibly explained who he was or what he meant to me. How do you react to losing a dear friend who has done so much for you yet no one you meet knows him?

Seeing the reaction to Ryan's passing online today was probably the least surprising part of all of this. Here were thousands of other people who felt the same way about Ryan and GB as I did. Today, people have expressed, far more eloquently than I ever could, how much Ryan meant to them in a way that was so genuine and touching that I cried even harder at these reactions than I did at the initial news.

Wherever Ryan is, I hope he's reading this post with utter disdain and getting drunk off his ass while listening to rap tapes and wiping back those glorious sweaty locks. He will never know it, but to me, he was a true friend. I will miss so much about him and I hope everyone who knew him finds some way to manage the grief I feel.

RIP Ryan

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