This is not an exit

In Memoriam: David Baker

In Uncategorized on April 30, 2013 at 11:34 pm

David Baker

David Baker stood at the intersection of two things that have defined me for as long as I can remember.

I recall a dreary afternoon when I was reading The New York Times on the first floor of the then-new Allen Hall, partly hidden by the stairway that wraps around the remains of an old tree in the building’s foyer. I had relayed the following to David and a few others: Find the arrow on the whiteboard in Allen; follow it and I’ll be waiting.

I watched as David entered the building from its eastern entrance. He missed the arrow completely, walking right by it and beginning an ascent to the second floor. As he reached the first landing before the stairs continued, he looked down and what followed will forever be etched in my memory.

As I peered over my copy of The Times with the paper hiding the entirety of my face below the bridge of my nose, David and I made eye contact. He smirked as he trotted downstairs, pulled out his 3DS and asked if I was ready to battle. That was the day David Baker earned the very first Leaf Badge bestowed to a member of the Emerald League, the Pokémon club David and I founded along with a handful of members from Think.Play, another gaming group he played an integral role in forming.

Three months later, a similar scene played out in the Buzz beneath the Erb Memorial Union. I sat cross-legged on an armchair, a fresh copy of The Times shielding my face from the world when, out of the corner of my eye I caught the sight of a black jacket, a black beard and perfectly imperfect combed gray hair. I cocked my head to the side and, once again, made eye contact with David Baker.

I’ve known David for just under two years, but in that short time he’s made an immense impact on my life. We shared a love of games and bringing people together. As the faculty adviser for Think.Play, he supported my ideas for the club when I became a member of the steering committee and challenged me to think things through whenever I came up with a particularly ambitious project.

When I announced that I would need to resign from my leadership position for a job at The Emerald, David’s first words were of support and encouragement. It wasn’t until we were about to wrap up a meeting that he remembered to ask if I had thought of a replacement.

And even though I missed an event I had pitched, a discussion on games journalism, a five-minute conversation with David the following day left me feeling enlightened — he and I hashed out a few ideas he hadn’t been able to pose to the group because they’d run out of time.

I’ve grown in many ways over the last 16 months. David played a major part in my evolution as a thinker and a gamer. He challenged me to think of games as more than ones and zeroes, inputs and outputs, conflicts and resolutions.

For all of this, and so much more, I will never forget him.

  1. These recollections bring a smile to my face despite the sadness. I hope you are holding up ok Eder, and don’t hesitate to contact me if you need someone to talk to. He will be missed.

    • Thanks, Jon! I had written the first two paragraphs as soon as I made it home yesterday. When you called me with the news, I couldn’t help but replay the memory over and over. It was as if my mind was making a point of remembering David just as he was when he challenged, and subsequently beat me, for those badges. And I appreciate your offer; I extend the same to you.

  2. Thank you for this, Eder. Dave made such an impact on so many people.

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