As most of you know by now, we lost one of our own, Bryan Harland, AKA CalBandGreat. He was a good friend and I cannot let him go without saying a few words. He was everyone's friend here, a breath of fresh air, and if things got a little heated, he was always that someone who'd bring a bit of levity to the heartbreak that is Cal fandom. Whether you knew him personally or just through the CGB community, he will be remembered for his insane love of all things Cal, the Simpsons, whiskey and boobs. Words cannot express how broken I feel right now, nor the pain in my heart. I know the CGB community is putting together a piece about Bryan, but I felt the need to post my feelings here.
I first met Bryan through CGB; interacting within the game threads and more infamously through the DBD. We met formally at a CGB happy hour more than a year ago. I then joined the Cal Drink Squad group on facebook (pending Bryan's approval, of course) and soon afterwards started going to his tailgates. I learned to love shotgunning a Coors Light and singing the Cal Drinking Song became part of my Saturday ritual. We were acquaintances that became fast friends and we started to hang outside of CGB and Cal, grabbing a beer after work, going to A's games, or double dating with Jessica and my wife.
The more time we spent together, the more I could see a great, long lasting friendship develop. I only wish I had the chance to know him longer than I did. Alas. In putting together this post, I want all of Bryan's many friends to be able to use this space to grieve his loss and share memories of Bryan; so that while we feel the gravity of his loss to our world we can also celebrate a man who was taken too soon.
Tonight, I raise my glass to you Bryan and remember the time we had, however brief it was. Gone too soon, taken too young. Rest in peace. You will never be forgotten. And to Always Go Bears!
Photo courtesy of Jeremy Guttenplan