Christopher James Allen “Memphis” Harding
June 5, 1986 – May 4, 2013
Two years ago today the AYB team lost one of our own. Christopher “Memphis” Harding played a major role in shaping what BaseLAN, and by extension AYBonline, has become today. His passion for Counter-Strike was rivaled by few, and his compassion for others was just as strong. It was with those qualities that he helped make our tournaments a success. He will always be remembered for that and so much more.
I knew Chris from my early teens. My younger brother met Chris in grade 7 and the two of them quickly became very close friends. I took to admiring Chris. He always looked out for Ryan, he was a very good friend. Then again, Chris always had everyone’s best interests at heart; that’s why everyone loved him. I feel blessed to have known him for so long.
Back in High School, my friends and I discovered Counter-Strike. We started playing very early on. I had the game at beta 4. Back then my brother and I shared a computer, so naturally I introduced him to the game as well. Of course he showed Chris, so you could say I was the reason Chris found CS in the first place, and had he not been getting into the competitive scene he, wouldn’t likely have found BaseLAN.
Chris and my brother both joined the staff running BaseLAN after they attended Baselan 8. They loved the atmosphere so much they knew they wanted to be a part of the team. If it weren’t for their enthusiasm I likely would never have come to a LAN, and I would have never met a number of great friends that I have now.
Chris had a knack for doing that. He brought so many people together it was incredible. He was known for throwing huge bonfire parties that would have dozens of people. I really miss those parties, and I know I’m not the only one. He helped host countless poker tournaments, with people from all around the city. He was a hell of a rival across the table too! It’s rare to have a circle of friends as vast as his was. Everything Chris was involved in, he did it big, with as many people as possible, and everyone wanted to be part of his world.
If you were to ask anyone who knew him something memorable about him, you’d get varied replies. His amazing beard. His infections smile. His fun loving personality. His passion for sports, movies, TV, and video games. His love for German Shepherds. His intense skills on the poker table. Or maybe his frequent trips to Vegas. Chris didn’t have a long life, but he lived it to the fullest while he was here.
When I first thought if writing this, I asked the rest of the staff to contribute a memory of Chris. I think the stories they told paint an excellent picture of who he was, and what he meant to us all.
Chris Harding helped me establish Aybonline as an official eSports event. He was a close friend outside of Baselan as well. He was always the ying to my yang. He kept me level headed and was always open to offering his opinion both my personal and professional life. – Aaron “Reactor303” Kostuik
Chris is the guy that vouched for me on so many things that counted. He was one of the people who brought me on staff and even got me the job where I now work. He pushed me to do better. Every time I see him on my PSN list or Steam my heart sinks a little because I want to message him but know I can’t. He was a great friend, he believed in me, and I owe him a lot. – Matthew “Grey Fox” Kondracki
There isn’t a day that goes by where something doesn’t remind me of Chris. Whether it’s someone calling me “sir” ,a song on the radio, or playing counter-strike, something can be tied back to him. He made my life better by knowing him. He cared more for his friends and family than I could even begin to explain. It is that exact thing that makes me remember him. Always in my heart, care for others more than you want for yourself. – Dave “Owned” Alberto
Chris was a friendly giant, he always made me feel welcome regardless of whether I was a participant or staff. He had a voice that carried far, and a jovial demeanor that was reminiscent of vikings of old pounding back ale in Valhalla. He shall be missed. – Ernest Kwan
One of the things I miss the most is I could just run full speed at Chris and jump and he would catch me every time. He had giant arms being 6’4″ and I miss his hugs. – Kayla “Cherry” Kowerko
I didnt know him very much, but I keep him in the AYB group in steam friends list, despite being offline for more than 2 years. Having that cool guy there reminds me of how fragile life really is, and that we should live each day to the fullest. – Jeff “Stamp” Lefabvre
Even though we were more casual acquaintances, whenever we would hang out for a bit he always treated me like one of his close buddies. He was a pleasure to talk to cause we had many similar interests. One of the things I remember most about him was that he almost always had a smile on his face. – Duong Phu
Chris was my favourite CS admin for Baselan and always will be. He was very in touch with the local CS community and always wanted to make sure the players had a good time. The CS tournament was in good hands; he was reasonable, fair and enthusiastic about the game. I consider myself very fortunate to have also enjoyed time outside of Baselan with Chris. He was a great person and will forever be missed. – Mel Gribben
While I was searching for material to write this tribute, I came across a document I had made before his funeral. I had wanted to say something at the service, however there were to many speakers already so the family declined. Before I got a response for them I had started to prepare a slide show with quotes from some of his friends pulled from the obituary comments on the FreePress website. I’ve selected a few that stand out.
Over the past few days I have said this to a few people, but I feel I should post it, because I’m sure others can relate. I have never been too concerned about what other people think of me, or how “cool” I am etc. But when I came to realize that Chris Hardingthought I was a fun person to be around, and when he started inviting me out places or to his bonfires, I had never been happier to get someone’s approval. I’m not sure what it was about this guy that made this the case, but I have a feeling that others have felt this too. Such a great dude. It was an honour to know you and to call you friend. – Mathew Cooke
I’ve been avoiding writing this for days, only because I wasn’t ready. The day has come to celebrate you, Chris Harding. You had the biggest circle of friends I’ve ever known anyone to have. You had a way of bringing people together. Not to mention, you had an uncanny way of making me realize when I was “being a girl” in the nicest way possible. I will never forget our mutual love and planning we put into making GTL’s and our love for musicals. Hearing “Seasons of Love” from RENT will have a whole new meaning for me now. There will be a lot of firsts in the next year where you won’t be there or be there to text back. I mean, who is going to care about my big brother choices or Jennifer Jones’ team making it to the Olympics?
Thank you for everything you taught me and for all the times you made me smile and even the times you made me angry. Rest in peace and know you will never be forgotten. You’ve touched too many people for that to be possible. Much love Chris. I miss you already. – Nicole Diehl
For two years you had me fully convinced that you were in school to become a doctor it wasn’t till you told me that every quote about being a doctor, was actually lines you’d heard watching Greys Anatomy. The world has lost a truly genuine kind hearted man. This still doesn’t feel real. You will be missed by many Chris. My deepest of sympathy to Chris’s family. – Corey Jensen
And a reply from a mutual friend
Corey, I’ve never met you (I think) but for sure Chris told me about how there was this kid at work that he had convinced that he was going through med school. Pretty awesome. I didn’t realize he had managed to drag it on for a full 2 years. That’s wonderful. – Bill Zenert
Today we say goodbye to my friend Chris. Never have I disagreed with someone so openly on so many different topics and felt genuine respect and appreciation. – Joseph Booth
Some of the most touching comments came from AYB staff.
Last night my friend Chris Harding passed away after being admitted to the hospital the other day. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have many of the friends I hold close now or my job that has afforded so many things I take for granted each day. He was a big man with a heart 10 times bigger that made him a great friend to many, many people and such a loving and caring owner of his rescue pup, Arya. I’ll miss his jovial laughter and the huge smile that came along with it. I will honour his memory by striving to be as good a man as he was to so many others. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones. – Matt “Grey Fox” Kondracki
“He thought the world of you, he talked about you often” the most comforting words someone has said to me since you left us Big Guy. Thank you.. – Kayla “Cherry” Kowerko
Chris & I first met in the 7th grade – since then we’ve had a very strong friendship which survived through fights and disagreements, life changing tragedies, and of course countless hours of some of the best times of both of our lives. He was one of the most important, and influential people in my life. So many of my life’s experiences can be attributed to ways that he has impacted me. I introduced him to a game of Counter-Strike when we were young. That game became a huge part of his life, and as a result he introduced me to BaseLAN – a community that made both of us a lot of friends, and remained a part of both of our lives from then on. He is also the only reason that I have the career that I do. He convinced me to apply at Shaw in the first place – he even convinced his boss to give me a second chance at an interview after I missed their attempt at contacting me. If it hadn’t been for him, I wouldn’t be working for this amazing company, and I wouldn’t have built all of these amazing relationships that I have as a result. Words cannot express how much I miss you. There were so many things left for us to do. So many television shows to argue about, movies to see, and video games for you to finish before me and then tease me about. I wish we had more time together friend. I will love you always, and you will never be forgotten. – Ryan “Maj” Carbotte
His light will be missed. I have never known a better man in my lifetime. I first met Chris when he was my opponent, playing Counter-strike. Since then we have become good friends and co-workers at both shaw and baselan. I will miss his smile and his laugh. Arguing about movies was my favourite. My heart reaches out to all who need it, he would have it no other way. – Dave “Owned” Alberto
From BaseLAN 12 and on I knew i was at home with great friends. The staff made me feel welcomed and you were a big part of that. It will never be the same without you. RIP big guy – Damion “Dmans” Petriew
And finally, this is what I had to say on that difficult day
I’ve known Chris for longer than I can even remember. He was in my younger brother’s grade and they quickly became close friends. Over the years, as we grew older I too became very close with Chris. I’ve always appreciated how he used to look out for Ryan. He always had everyone’s best interests at heart. We shared a lot of good times, from hanging out in my basement, to bonfires at his new house. Concerts, movies, BASELAN. We’ve done many things together, I can’t believe there won’t be any new memories. I will cherish those I do have. We’ve lost an incredibly special soul. I will remember you forever. Rest in Peace good sir! – Kevin “Pumcy” Carbotte
Harding, as I liked to call him, was and always will be one of my dearest friends. Not many people knew this about him, but he had a blog. For that reason, I felt that a blog post is the best way I can honor him.
This is for you sir! I hope you’re somewhere out there smiling because of it. I love you buddy!
Rest in Peace friend.
Kevin Carbotte is a Content Editor for AYBonline. He misses his dear friend greatly, and cried many times while writing this. 🙁