Like all of you, I was deeply saddened to hear the news that legendary announcer Larry Munson had past away last night from complications of pneumonia. I've always believed that Munson was as much a part of Georgia football's celebrated history as Coach Vince Dooley, Herschel Walker, silver britches, the hedges, you name it...
Munson was undoubtedly a Bulldog legend. When a four-year old, like my son as recently as a week ago, thanks to television clips and YouTube, asks his daddy what "my God, a freshman" is, you know the individual that first uttered those words is likely some sort of iconic figure.
Furthermore, besides being an icon, Larry Munson was probably more so - and simply - one of us. In describing the action, he seemed to be speaking to each individual member of the Bulldog Nation in full detail, filled with just as much passion and a desire to win than anyone else.
Personally, I didn't know Larry like many of the people did in my line of work. In fact, I came in contact with him only a few times for one thing - the foreword of my first book.
Early in 2007, I had been informed by my publisher that if I knew of an appropriate individual, I could ask him (or her) to write the foreword to the book. If not, they could find someone to do so. Well, I didn't know Larry Munson, and he certainly didn't know me. However, as a passionate Georgia fan who had imitated the man's legendary voice as early as at five years of age, there was no one better I could think of to write my first foreword on a book about UGA football.
Now, all I had to do was ask him.
As nervous as I had been back in second grade when I approached Herschel Walker for an autograph, a quarter-century later, I anxiously reached out to another one of my Bulldog football heroes. I'll never forget that familiar, gravely voice, answering "Hello," on the other end of the phone while a TV blared in the background of what sounded like ESPN's SportsCenter. I then went into a long request (way too long), asking him if he would be so kind to write my foreword and how honored I'd be if he did so.
As I waited for an answer, I heard absolutely nothing on the other end, not even the television that had been blaring just seconds before. "Well, that's just great, he hung up the phone," I thought to myself. "What's Plan B?"
Suddenly, in that same voice I had been so familiar with since I could remember, I heard an answer - something on the order of, "Yeah...sure thing. What do I need to do?"
Come to find out, the long pause on the phone was only because Larry had gone to turn his TV down to talk. In the "foreword-writing process," which might not be as simple of a request as it sounds (I know from experiences that would follow), Larry was more than gracious, going above and beyond of what was asked of him.
Larry Munson didn't know this unknown writer from Adam's house cat, but I'd like to think he simply heard a fellow Bulldog in need, and obliged to my request. The Bulldog Nation undeniably lost a legend last night, but more so, we lost a friend and one of our own.