News broke today that the legendary voice of the Georgia Bulldogs, Larry Munson, passed away today at the age of 89. I can say without any reservations that only he and heaven are better off because of his departure.
Munson spent 42 years calling plays with a passion that will never be duplicated. He retired from play calling on September 6, 2008 and college football no longer had the prize jewel of announcers.
I was born and raised in Alabama. However, for two years my family lived in Georgia during my second and third grade years of school.
During my time in Georgia, I had a neighbor friend whose house I would go to every Saturday. We would sit on the floor as his dad watched the Georgia game on TV with the volume muted. Instead of listening to the TV announcers, he would have Munson blaring on the radio.
One of the things that makes sports so amazing is the connection that family members share together while cheering for their team. I never had a father, but those moments lying on the living room floor with my friend were as close to a father-son football experience that I ever had.
Every time I hear a playback of an old Munson clip, it takes me back to that living room floor and reminds me of a more simplistic time.
What made Larry so great was not something that can be taught. He truly loved his Georgia Bulldogs and it came across during his games. When the Bulldogs lost it was like a dagger in his heart. When they won it was like he made the play.
As a child I could never listen to him call a game and not go outside and throw the football to myself and do my best Munson impersonation.
I can still see myself throwing the ball in the air and running under it for the reception as I screamed, “Oooh my…Peter just scored another touchdown. I can’t believe it…I can’t believe it.”
Every once in a while I like to go on YouTube and pull up some of his classic calls. You only need to be a fan of football and you will get chills.
He called the game in such a way that he felt like he had an inner-connection with the team that they could hear him from the booth. For example, in the 1982 Georgia-Auburn game, he shouted out, “Hunker down, you guys! If you didn't hear me, you guys, hunker down! I know I'm asking a lot, you guys, but hunker it down one more time!"
When he had this kind of moment, my neighbor's father would jump up off the couch and bend over in nervousness. It was as if he was trying to reach deep within himself so that Larry wouldn’t be alone.
If this sounds strange or if you think I am exaggerating, you have never heard Munson call a game.
From the depths of my heart, thank you for the calls, Larry, and congratulations on yours. I am sure you heard "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." You might be spending eternity up there, but you will always be a Dang Good DAWG here.