Monday, November 21, 2011

The people of Georgia lost a legend last night

For those who have never lived in Georgia and for those who have never followed college football, the passing of Larry Munson last night from this life probably means little. But to those of us who knew him there is a grievous loss this morning all across the Bull Dawg nation.

To those of us who were raised on Georgia football, his death means the passing of a living legend from amongst us. A man who cannot be replaced, a legend in his own time and the one person who epitomized University of Georgia football above all others.

I was weaned on University of Georgia football from the time I was a child. Sitting in the front seat of our car on Saturdays with my dad in the mid and late 1960's, listening to the games there because we didn't have a radio in the house. And all the while and all through the years and all through the decades, one voice was always present on those fall afternoons.  A gravely scowl at times, yet a source of comfort and reassurance for so many of us who hung on his every word.

He was our guy, he was one of us and each of us were living the games through him vicariously through Larry and our radios every Saturday in the fall. While others came to be known as the face of the Georgia Bull Dawgs, Larry Munson was the undeniable voice of Bull Dawgs and the senior ambassador of the Bull Dawg nation. Larry Munson was the quintessential essence of what it meant to be a Georgia Bull Dawg and every Dawg fan knew it. No one brought the passion to the games or to the calls as dramatically as Larry did for over four decades.

When he finally left the microphone for the last time in 2008, aside from the tears that were shed by millions of Georgia fans at the passing of an era, many of us knew then that time was the thief who would one day come to collect not only a legendary career, but also the very essence of the man that so many of us loved.

That time came last night when death came and embraced our friend and took him from our presence forever. The young one's at the university now barely knew him and others still have no tangible reference to one of the greatest football institutions to ever live at their university. They are the freshman and the sophomores and the juniors and yes, many  of them seniors. They never got to hear that gravely voice on so many Saturdays like we did.

The voice of the Georgia Bull Dawgs lives on now only in memories and recordings. Moments in time forever etched on the hearts and memories of a literal nation of followers who now mourn their loss together.

Larry sits in the loftiest of press boxes now. Surely in the presence of other greats, many of whom were his friends in life and who also carved their own legends on the playing fields of this nation's greatest game. Larry is forever immortalized by who he was and what he accomplished for the University of Georgia Bull Dawgs. 

I will always remember that standard set up that Larry gave us at the beginning of every offensive play. "Georgia is in an I!

I can hear him now: "There's a fake to the weak side! The quarterback rolls out to the left! There's a man open in the corner of the  end zone! Oh my God! Oh my God! Touchdown! Touchdown! Touchdown! A fade in the corner! Who would have believed it! We saved ourselves!"

Rest in peace Larry. Go with God and enjoy the best seat in the house now old Dawg you earned it.

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