To the people who were recruited or brought in: How did you discover CGB?
LeonPowe: It all really goes back to the Treesitters. I had just moved abroad again, and I've been talking about Cal sports online forever (going back to the GoBears OCF list-serv that I believe started in 1993?) and while other sites (thebandisonthefield, Bear Insider, Rivals, Tightwad Hill) covered the proceedings, only CGB actually infiltrated the meetings and had - well, not reporters, because we don't have reporters - but had people live and on-sight during the actual entire proceeding.
I think the two difference makers for CGB both the analysis and the weird, off, irreverent sense of humor. I think we can thank the blogfathers for melding the two. Hydrotech's football posts were really educational and came at the point that people on the internet were really starting to get into the deep analysis, on sites like Smart Football - so to see the chessboard laid out for Cal football kept me coming back. The site's sense of humor for things like the aforementioned Treesitter debacle, Stalking Ben Braun around Berkeley and talking to Marshawn Lynch on AIM kept me around.
I believe I started commenting around the Ben Braun stalking, or it could have been the recruitment of Max Zhang? I can't remember.
boomtho: I joined because of the treesitters, was drawn into the inanity of the DBD (what a place to make a first impression, eh?!) and have been hooked ever since. Honestly, the DBD is the draw that keeps me coming back, moreso than actual Cal content - as someone with a desk job with a ton of meetings, it's a great timepass (or, time suck) to have open in the background.
The last thing that really drew me in was the recruiting coverage. I have multiple memories of frantically refreshing during NSD (on the old platform) in class, and others whispering to me and asking for updates.
Ruey Yen: I "discovered" CGB back in the day for "a service" that we no longer provide (the price of being legit site). A couple of years after moving out East for graduate school, I realized that modern technology means that I can watch, through the internet, basketball games that are only shown on West Coast TVs. If I remember correctly, a Google search pointed me to the good old CGB (pre SBNation days) where I found links to a Cal alum broadcasting live games on JustinTV.
I don't think I started to comment until after the move to SBNation, where I was prompted to create a username "leastcoastbears" (which I think was my Fantasy Football team name for a few random leagues) in the middle of the 2008 seasons.
Through the next few years, I was a frequent but mostly silent participants. A few Fanshots about when Cal gets deep into the postseasons in men's water polo and volleyball apparently got me on Avi's radar and I was formally recruited to join the wacky CGB team prior to the 2012 London Olympics.
An year plus later, I switched over to posting under my real name to be credentialed for a random USWNT practice in DC (where Alex Morgan was out and I end up awkwardly talking with Abby Wambach and Lauren Holiday). Since then, I have also got to cover Cal basketball games from the floor of Madison Square Garden (3x) as well as accidentally blocking the exit of Missy Franklin, Cuonzo Martin, etc. from leaving the press conference rooms. Being able to see Cal wins the last 4 Rugby 7s national championships and the 2015 NCAA women's swimming and diving championships from up close have been a thrill. I hope some of those accesses has translated into better coverage of those events on the blog.
Vincent S: I learned how football worked after one of my undergrad mentors, Joey Goodknight, dragged me to my first football game as a freshman (Michigan State @ Cal 2008). Despite not getting much more out of the game beyond (paraphrasing) "Ball going that way is good; ball going the other way is bad; sometimes they switch," I was hooked. Eager to learn more about how football worked, I Googled and stumbled my way into CGB and started reading.
Nick Kranz: I discovered CGB in the early, early days. I don't precisely remember how, other than that I was a college student who was completely obsessed with Cal football, and thus had a pathological need to read anything written about the team. Back in those days there were like 5 or 6 different blogs (Excuse Me For My Voice, Bears with Fangs, Rose Bowl Before I Die, The Band is Out on the Field, etc.) and I read all of them. But CGB quickly stood out for a few reasons. Most primarily, the volume and variety of writing that came from having multiple authors. One place where you could get Twist's inanity, Hydro's analysis, Ragnarok's sobriety and dry wit, Yellow Fever's irreverence or CBKWit's righteous indignation, with updates pretty much daily.
Not long after Golden Blogs had left Blogsome for SBNation, I left a comment with my analysis of Cal WBB's loss to UConn in the 2009 NCAA tournament. In retrospect I think a healthy portion of that analysis was pretty clichéd, but it was interesting enough to catch Twist's attention, as CGB was looking for somebody to come on to write about women's basketball. Seven and a half years (!) later I'm still here, and have had the opportunity to write about pretty much every aspect of Cal sports and (too often, sadly) administration. The reason I've kept at it (besides the fun hobby aspect) is largely because of the community of people I've met and learned from.
Kevin Wu: Awhile back, I got really hungry for Cal sports content. CGB provided just that. I found the SB Nation format easy to navigate (compared to the other sports blogs out there) and was quickly hooked. I wanted to join the team because I tend to have lots of opinions about Cal athletics (not usually the kindest) and was tired of talking to myself about them. The experience has been so awesome. So many smart, witty, and knowledgeable writers with this blog. I've actually learned a lot more about football and basketball, too!
Piotr Le: I started reading CGB right around the 2013-2014 season when HC Dykes was brought in. I actually found out about his scheme on one of Scott Chong's breakdowns of the Bear Raid. I was getting into football around that time, more than just into the game but the minutae and schemes and thus it was helpful to read-up on the Air Raid.
Later I started following Nam on twitter and reading his breakdowns as well as reading the post-game stuff.
In the 2014 season I watched the games from the QQ section with "The Goons", and Nam asked if I wanted to write for CGB at the time. I had to decline because I just started working a tough job in consulting and didn't have time to do anything else.
Then during the 2015 Summer Practices, after leaving my job in consulting but before graduate school, Avi asked me if I wanted to help out by doing practice write-ups and having nothing to do I did that. Soon enough he asked if I wanted to do anything on a recurring basis and my stats column came out of it. I am in my second year of writing and I can honestly say that doing this have made me a better fan, and a better writer.