Bryans friend recalls his life
R. Bryan, born 10 Dec 1976
Written by Dave Norton, 19 Oct 2002
Robert and I were both members of the Steiner Tsunami
Aquatic Team in 8th grade, and our friendship came as a result of
carpooling and 2-3 hours in the water every day. His best stroke
was freestyle, and he eventually went on to become one of the fastest
freestylers in the state of Utah, competing on High-School and junior-Olympic
levels. After graduating from Olympus High School in 1995, he trained
for the Olympics and narrowly missed the cut. Very few individuals
attain the level of success that Robert did in swimming.
Rather than pursue any further Olympic goals, Robert decided to
focus more on the enjoyment of the sport by participating in Water
Polo leagues and by coaching a high-school team (Swimming and Water
Polo) here in Utah. His "kids", as he liked to call them,
loved Roberts style, as was proven by the thoughtful "thank
you" cards that individuals occasionally gave to Robert. Last
year, before his team went on to compete in the State-level competitions,
he colored his hair and sported a mohawk for team spirit.
Robert also had a passion for music, and as a result he participated
in several local bands (primarily rock music, but also some jazz
and classical) here in Salt Lake City. His primary instrument of
choice for performances was bass guitar. Robert had an obsessive
personality like mine, and he threw himself into practicing for
hours on endsometimes 8 or 12 hours in a single day. He set
his sights high, and although he didnt live long enough to
see his dreams come to pass, he certainly achieved a level of "fame"
on a local scale. Personally, I was deeply moved by his strong desire
to succeed, despite the setbacks that came his way.
Rob built many castles in the sky, probably resulting from his avid
reading. Rather than pursuing a corporate career, he preferred to
spend his time pondering the more eternal aspects of life, and trying
to make sense of it all in his minds eye. Indeed, for the
majority of his last year in Utah, when he wasnt coaching
or practicing music, he practically lived in coffee shops and book
stores. I never found a dull moment with Robert in conversation,
since our interests in reading often overlapped. Although Robert
and I never discussed the works of Ed Abbey before he left Salt
Lake City, I presume that Robert was inspired by Mr. Abbeys
writings to join his final castle in the skythe roped network
in the Redwoods of Ramsey Gulch.
Never before have I desired so greatly for a friendship to extend
beyond death. My hopes and prayers will be with Robert, and his
spirit will undoubtedly affect the course of my life.
David A. Norton