The Associated Press
Legendary University of Georgia play-by-play announcer Larry Munson, center, calls a game between the the Bulldogs and Georgia Southern in Athens. Munson died Sunday. He was 89.
And, so it ends. The Bible says to each man it is appointed once that he must die. I’ve never much liked that passage from the Bible, but last I looked God doesn’t check with me to clear his directives, so I accept this fact all the while trying to figure out a way to get around it.
So after 89 fruitful years, death comes creeping in, disguised as pneumonia, and now Larry Munson will speak no more. I suspect the gates of heaven were adorned in red and black, for just this occasion, with a forecast of rain ... sugar pouring, that is, from the sky, as the voice of the Dawgs, retired for three years, now rests in peace.
If you follow the Dawgs, you know the voice. Gravelly and hoarse, sounded like it needed a rest after every breath. But, for 45 years on game day there was no rest to be had. With Munson there was never any shades of gray or “fair and balanced.” It was “we just scored,” and “hobnail boots to the face” or “property being destroyed from Jacksonville to St. Simons Island.” He just broke our hearts, or “I’d given up ... you had, too.” He even saw time as the enemy, begging, exhorting the clock to tick away as Georgia held onto yet another fragile last minute lead.
He held out long enough to see the Dawgs win the East. Might have known better than to hang around for the SEC Championship, where the snarling beast from the West, most likely LSU or Bama, lick their chops in wait.
I’ve often been told the best athletes leave it all on the field. When you listened to Munson, you knew he left it all in the booth. One time even broke his chair. Never once turned his back on the players, the coaches, or the University. From Donovan to Kemp, his mantra never changed. You wore red and black or, well, you just didn’t get it.
He was from another time, a time when little boys sat glued to the radio and to his every word because the game wasn’t on TV. Truth be known, 50-year-old men sat glued as well. Even after TV, they’d turn off the volume and instead listen to Larry. Whether “run, Lindsey” or Herschel’s “big thighs” or “he just ran over two men,” no TV screen could paint a picture with that much clarity. He made a legend, Herschel Walker, into a super hero; a kicker, Kevin Butler, into an icon, and a million Bull Dawg faithful he made addicted for life.
I know it may be out of order, but St. Pete, just this once, could you get on your hands and knees and let out a bark. I’m pretty sure Catfish will be there to give you backup.
Contact columnist T. Gamble at firstname.lastname@example.org.