California Golden Blogs turns 5 and I see you forgot our birthday again!

TwistNHook:  So, just to recap, today is our 5th birthday.  In internet years, that makes us old.  SO OLD.  Like as old as an undead vampire of unclear age.  Unclear age!   But really amazing abs.  

I, for one, cannot believe that it has been 5 years since we started this site.  Kind of insane, isn't it?  Some of you have been here since the starts, others just joined up this past year.  Either year, this site runs as a team effort and each of you provides great value.  I'm wondering what does 5 years of CGB mean to you?  I'll talk later.  You first.  

CALumbus Bear:  I lurked for one football season, having been enticed by the coverage of the treesitters and their removal (9/9/08 NEVAIR FORGET). I started participating in January 09, and I have lost an INCREDIBLE amount of productive work time ever since. I blame the DBDs mostly, which can be extremely fun, surprisingly informative, and incredibly timesucking. For those of us living in far away lands, CGB gives us a very enjoyable connection to other Cal fans as well as insight into pretty much every Cal sport. CGB is the first site I turn to for information regarding the Bears, because it is an extremely fast aggregator of news, videos, pictures and other tidbits. Is it the perfect website? No, there are far too few NSFW pictures. But it is my favorite website and certainly where I spend most of my online time. It made me an even MORE rabid Cal fan, which has resulted in me (1) donating more money to Cal (2) wanting to start a local alumni chapter and (3) actually hooking up in real life with internetz friendz.

Berkelium97:  What I appreciate most is how CGB has expanded over the years in terms of depth and span in its coverage of all things Cal sports.  While I was initially drawn to the site back in the blogsome days thanks to Hydro's Xs and Os football posts, I have learned about much more than football over the years and for that I am most appreciative.  From the long and storied history of Cal football (thanks CalBear81!) to new interests such as rugby and women's basketball, CGB has helped expand my interest and passion in all things Cal sports.  The amount of collective knowledge among all the commenters and the handful of writers is astounding and I feel like I learn something new almost every day thanks to the vibrant CGB community.

yellow fever:  I appreciate the fact that the community has grown and continued to thrive even as I've been less involved than ever.  (And trust me, I really used to write about more than how the community's fantasy league is going and how to cook the upcoming week's opponent.)  Sometimes life gets in the way, although it does strike me as odd how guys like Ohio Bear and CALumbus Bear stay as involved as they do given their day jobs...but then, that might just go to show that you really don't need to do much to be a lawyer, amirite?

But in all honesty, I'm shocked and couldn't be happier at how much the site as grown.  I'll probably be even less involved going forward, but it's good to see the foundation has been laid for the blog and community to thrive and grow even more.

NorCalNick: Easily the best part of California Golden Blogs has been the opportunity it has provided me to connect with like-minded Cal fans.  All of my fellow writers, everybody I've met through CGB tailgates, those I've met at the Sacramento Grid Club - all are wonderful people who I feel honored to count as friends.  Even those I've only interacted with online I consider comrades.  I've never felt as close to the greater Cal community as I do now.

It's that group of friends - the community - that keeps me coming back, that motivates me to write as well as I'm capable.  Having readers who will make blow up heads for senior day, travel hundreds of miles and write a photo essay, or spend hours breaking down film for a post about bubble screens is incredibly humbling.  I consider it an incredible privilege to have a platform to express my opinion on a weekly basis, and I do my best to use it responsibly.  Thanks CGB!


Kodiak:
 I used to read every site and every media outlet that I could find with any semblance of news on Cal sports. I was initially drawn to CGB because of Hydro's analysis posts;  it was information that I had never seen before and I really enjoyed learning more about the game.  Like CALumbus Bear, I lurked for quite a while before daring to comment.  I'm not sure exactly what it is that lead me to scurry about from the shadows.  It seemed like everyone was younger, cooler, and some showed signs of being mildly insane.  Maybe that resonated with me.  After attending every home football and basketball game for 25+ years, it was a really weird feeling to find myself watching from home with the wife passed out upstairs and the newborn daughter sleeping on my shoulder.  I found that being able to comment online with fellow Cal fans was a lot of fun - it was like virtually giving high fives over the interwebz and enjoying the shared experience of watching the game.  And that was probably the last time that I had any semblance of productivity at work.  Mrs. Kod teases me about becoming a "Cal football widow" every fall, but she's been very supportive about letting me indulge my semi-OCD outlet for Cal sports.  Most of all, I appreciate the sense of community - most people don't take each other or themselves too seriously and that lends to a really fun atmosphere.  It's nice to feel connected with a bunch of fellow Cal fans and friends.

HydroTech:  I think what I've found most rewarding about writing for CGB is hearing people's positive feedback. When people say they read us every day or they like certain articles, it makes me feel like we are putting out a good product. I'm very happy to hear that people like what we do, that they find our articles interesting, informative, and intelligent.  

I also think it is very interesting how a strong community has formed. The Daily Bear Dumps are extremely active with easily 1000 comments a day. Discussion is often funny, interesting, and informative.  People who don't know each other aside from a handle regularly talk and discuss all things Cal and non-Cal. People who first met on the blog have met each other in real life. I'm waiting to hear of a couple who gets married after they met on CGB!  Then we can add matchmaker to our resume!

Ohio Bear:
  Happy fifth anniversary, CGB.  I haven't been here for all of it.  I stumbled upon CGB in 2008 as I was looking around for other Cal fan sites to frequent.  The one at which I was a regular was becoming a bit too negative for my liking.  Yeah, I'm passionate about Cal sports, but I'd also like it to be fun.  At my age and the place I was at in life, I decided life was much too short to spend time sapping my enthusiasm for one of the few things I enjoy (i.e., Cal sports).  

So I found CGB.  It struck me as a place with smart and humorous writers who were good fans, but did not take Cal sports too seriously for their own good. I liked that.  So I started going to CGB much more often and to the other site much less often.  I still like the other site: it has good writers, good people, and good content.  But I rarely go to the forums anymore.  I've grown to really enjoy banter with the CGB community.  Once I figured out the inanity of the DBD, and how such inanity can coexist with a healthy passion for Cal athletics, I was hooked.  


LeonPowe:  Living overseas (or in Texas - where I was when CGB was getting started) - one searches the internet for any mention of Cal sports - especially since I was in Texas for 2004 and 2006, I needed someplace to talk Cal sports with likeminded folks. While there are other places on the internet that are gathering places for Cal fans (in fact, I was an active participant in the Go Bears email listserv that started around 1994. Olds) I quickly found a fun, inane place that made me feel at home. I don't exactly remember when I started reading (the Ben Braun stalking?) but I remember when I started reading in earnest and on a daily basis (tree sitters!) and then that quickly turned into participation.
 
While I haven't been able to meet any CGBers (being . . .well, overseas) this place has given me a place to find out about an institution (not only major sports, but minor sports and the university as a whole) about a place that was incredibly important into shaping who I am now and how I approach everything. And the place to tell someone (who cares) that Ryan Forehan-Kelly is playing in Shanghai or my stupid story about how I met Brian Hendricks in a bar in Tokyo and talked to him (and Shon Tarver) about Pac-10 hoops for an hour. CGB is that place I can unload my stupid Cal stories, and that I'm thankful for.

And now, I'm a Jahvidtician.  I really dunno how I got to THAT point.  Suffice it to say, TwistNHook is an effective arm twister.  But I enjoy writing stuff for CGB and enjoy being a part of the CGB community.  I see a lot of myself in the CGB community:  enthusiastic, passionate Cal fans who must use humor to cope what being a Cal fan is.  Thank you, CGB, for being what I need!  

TwistNHook:  I've been trying to think what the #1 moment of the last 5 years have been for me.  It is difficult, because there are so many.

I think that the #1 moment is probably when we started the private weekly conference calls with Coach Tedford in November, 2007 to coordinate the Nate Longshore promotional campaign.  We spent so many years hours discussing how best to promote the very concept of Nate Longshore, I felt like we really bonded.  We share something with Coach Tedford that I'd like to think nobody else does:

An undying addiction to starting Nate Longshore.  

And that, my friends, is special.  May the next 5 years be as amazing as the first five!  L'Chaim!  


LeonPowe:  
What about when we pitched to Tedford the "Coach Not to Lose" campaign? I think he really embraced that one.

ragnarok:  I'm in pretty much the same boat as Yellow Fever, as life has gotten in the way of my participation in CGB.  There was a time, during our first year of blogging, where if I stopped writing altogether, CGB's content might have been cut in half, and our dozens of readers might have begun drifting away.  It makes me immensely happy that without much participation on my part over the past year and half, this amazing community we have hasn't skipped a beat, and our front page content has risen even further in quality, to the point where I sometimes feel like if I did write something, my amateur attempts at sportswriting wouldn't live up to the standard that has been set.

So many people have contributed to make CGB what it is today, but I feel like TwistNHook needs special recognition for his efforts at corralling, coercing, and cajoling the rest of us into pouring our efforts into CGB.  Five years is absolutely ancient in internet terms, and keeping something like this continually going without giving up or losing interest is a very difficult task.  I can sit back today and participate in CGB as much or as little as I am able to, but Twist never has, and for that, he deserves kudos.

CBKWit:  As much as I hate giving any credit to Twist, for fear of inflating his massive ego...I am giving huge credit to Twist.  On the internet, consistency is the most important attribute, more so than quality, and Twist has shown remarkable diligence to not only keeps this blog humming for 5 years (eons in internet time), but to also grow and expand it.  And for someone with such a massive ego, Twist is also keenly aware of his limitations (actual knowledge of any sport), so he focuses on what he IS good at - organizing posts, setting a schedule, keeping people together, building a community, and occasionally writing something funny.  Twist is not responsible for most of our best posts, but there's no way this blog would even still exist after 5 years, much less in its current strong state, without him at the head.

TwistNHook:  Whatever it takes to get Nate Longshore starting.  

Whatever it takes. 

Cugel:  I guess I'm the new guy here (ha!), I don't think I have that much to add to this discussion, except to say that CGB is a fun place to hang out. I found this site in 2008 the way I think a lot of people do, in lunch links from ESPN's Pac-10 Blog. After lurking a bit, I have found participation has enhanced my enjoyment of all the intelligent offerings by the multitudinous authors here. I've learned at lot, and not just about the glory sports, but also the Olympic sports that receive little coverage.

Why is this place so much fun? Well, partly because it full of Cal grads/students, but what I find most remarkable is that fans from all teams often come to this site to have intelligent and thoughtful discussions about breaking sports news. This is a friendly and welcoming place to discuss both Cal sports, and the world at large. A lot of credit has to go to the moderators (not me) who have set the proper tone, lose and freewheeling, but not mean. I hope it last another five years, or at least until Cal gets to the Rose Bowl.

Avinash: Pretty incredible that in two years we've become the place on the Internet to discuss all things Cal. When I came on in 2009, Twist was pretty much trying to hold it all together with his patented YouTube Thursdays. I loved YouTube Thursdays. That was the gold standard of the site back in the day. If you're new, you must scour the archives; it was patently avant-garde. Because there was more Mingus than you could possibly imagine.

It's crazy to think of how much our site has evolved from a casual hangout for diehards like us to the go-to place for all Cal discussion. Cal football and Cal basketball have always been a part of our programming, but we've added Cal volleyball, baseball, women's hoops, rugby, recruiting, coverage of Bears in the pros, etc. We watched and discussed Aaron Rodgers win a Super Bowl, see Devon Rodriguez hit a single down the right field line, Jerome Randle cut the nets at Haas and Mike Mohamed step in front of an Andrew Luck pass. We did that all together, we reveled in it all together, and CGB helped bring us all together.

It's rewarding to have created a place for Golden Bears everywhere to enjoy discussion of all things Cal.   There aren't many places like that in real life, much less the Internet. It doesn't make the wait for Pasadena any less painful, but at least we know there's plenty more of us there to share in the moment when it does come.

See you all in the comments.

 

TwistNHook:  I'm not sure words can describe how I feel about the last 5 years of CGB.  It's an oddly surreal process.  On a day to day basis, nothing really changes.  But then, when I look at my phone and the official Cal Athletics twitter has retweeted us or we're doing interviews with some of my favorite players (like Dennis Gates!).

To ragnarok, thank you for helping set up this site with me.  Your contributions were invaluable in the early growth phase.  You continue to help as your family life allows with the Blogpoll.  

To yellow fever, you too were instrumental at the start.  Like ragnarok, your contributions have become more limited as you become more and more accomplished in your chosen field.  But even today, you find time to write 2-3 posts a week.  Your work with the fantasy and pick ems help grow the community!  

To HydroTech, when we sat chatting at the 2007 Spring Game, I never thought that you would be the catalyst for the CGB explosion.  Your posts are consistently the most intelligent and enjoyable posts on football.  Or at least they would be if I understood them.  

To CBKWit, I think we can all agree we don't get to enjoy as much of your writing as we'd all like.  When you do find time to write, I'm always struck by the passion in your writing.  You are a very good writer and I hope that the Penguins continue to win, so you'll be happy enough to write more!

To Avinash, this site would EASILY not be where it is today without you.  You helped push the site from one level to the next.  And then the next one after that.  You brought an advanced technical knowledge to match HydroTech's.  You helped us figure out standardized schedulings to make everything run smoother.  Even though you are working on being the Justin Timberlake to our NSync (I get to the be the black haired guy 10 years older than everybody else!), we owe a lot of our current success to you!

To NorCalNick, dude, I want to tell you to write less.  Not because your work is in any way subpar (thought it is), but because you currently are winning the award for the "Avinash:  Writing Most Of CGB's Content."  Take a load off, relax.  You work too hard.  We'll find a personal assistant to do most of the work, while you get a massage and drink a mai thai.  If there is one thing we hate here at CGB, it's making the rest of us look bad.  SO, STOP DOING THAT!

To OhioBear, where would we be without the chip in your brain that helps you remember every single thing ever to happen to Cal Athletics ever?  Quick!  Who won the Cal-Oregon Normal College game in 1922?  How many yards did Chuck Muncie run for in his career?  I bet you didn't have to even look those up.  That is why your NFL Open Threads are so much better than mine.  You use well more than 75 characters!

To Berkelium97, they say that consistency is the hallmark of internet success.  You help bring consistency with all of your important link collection.  You bring all the Cal news that is fit to print and that is really awesome!  If you ever get tired, maybe we can get NorCalNick's assistant to snag some links for you.

To Kodiak, you are like Hydro Jr.  And I mean that in the most insulting manner possible regarding your height.

To Solarise, recruiting content is so important in the online college world.  You helped pushed our recruiting content to that next level.  I know that real life>blog life, but hopefully you'll have more time to provide great recruiting posts soon.

To RugbyVet, thank you for all of your rugby content.  We pride ourselves on trying to cover as many Cal sports as possible.  There are so many sports that require specialized knowledge that most of us couldn't do it.  Your posts are welcomed by all as a window into a complicated and sometimes insular world.

To ManBearCal, when we were spending time cleaning up my next door neighbor's yard back in the latter part of the 1990s, I never quite expected we'd be collaborating like this.  When I was in the pep band and you were on the football field, I REALLY didn't think we'd be collaborating like this.  But things work out in weird ways and we are so amazingly thankful for your front page content.  It's awesome that you can help us prepare for the opponents and now pick up the slack on recruiting.  I look forward to all the great posts as yet written.

To LeonPowe, thanks for protecting America from commie reds.  And thanks for protecting CGB from flame wars and slap fights at night.  When the rest of us are asleep, you are vigilant.  You are like the Batman of CGB!

To CALumbus Bear, what would you say it is you do around here?

To atomsareenough, thanks for helping draft really diplomatic emails to diffuse complicated situations.  Being on the Hit Squad is a thankless job.  So, I'm going to stop thanking you now.

To Cugel, thanks!  You are the newest one on the Hit Squad, but you've already stepped up to the plate with a key official warn of a problem poster.  How clutch!  You are like the Tim Tebow of the Hit Squad.  

And to you, the readers, when we started this site, it just seemed like a fun lark.  But now, I feel like we bear a responsibility to you.  To provide the best quality experience, the most fun, the greatest community, and most importantly a Cal-positive place to relax and chat about all things Golden Bears.  You have placed your trust in us.  I would hope to never break that trust.  

EXCEPT THAT YOU DIDN'T GET US ANYTHING FOR OUR BIRTHDAY?!?!  WHY ARE YOU EVEN IN THIS RELATIONSHIP ANYMORE?!?!  THAT'S IT!  YOU'RE SLEEPING ON THE COUCH FOR A WEEK!

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