Honestly, I should’ve been ready for this moment. After the health scare around his birthday, we all should have been. I should have had a planned obituary "in the can" and ready to post, just in case, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
How could I have? I remember January 1, 1981, when I was twelve and my father was in the den, recording on that bulky VCR the Sugar Bowl in which the Georgia Bulldogs would play for the national championship, and he had me stationed in the living room recording Larry Munson’s broadcast of the contest on audiocassette, so he could later dub the legendary play-by-play announcer’s calls over the televised game.
That, in a nutshell, is who Larry Munson was: the soundtrack to our Georgia fandom.
The Bulldogs’ greatest moments of the last 45 years are unimaginable, inconceivable, apart from Munson’s gravelly delivery when describing them. Tennessee 1973. Florida 1975. Kentucky 1978. Tennessee 1980. Florida 1980. Auburn 1982. Clemson 1984. Alabama 1990. Tennessee 2001. There is no remembering those thrilling events apart from Munson’s words.
In War Between the States, Cale Conley stated it succinctly: "To try and describe the play would be futile, because the live call of gravelly-voiced Bulldog announcer Larry Munson is the way it will always be remembered." That is true of so many defining moments, so much so that his words are as inextricably woven into the fabric of our recollections as the strains of Angelo Badalamenti’s music are bound up in our appreciation of the films of David Lynch.
Lawrence Harry Munson was not born a Georgian, but he became one of us, and he came to embody all of us. His persistent pessimism was pervasive almost to the point of self-parody, but, for a fan base accustomed to the dour pregame fretting of Wally Butts and Vince Dooley, Larry gave voice to the sum of all our fears . . . yet no one enjoyed the postgame victory cigar more deeply or truly than Larry Munson, and no one ever appreciated life in Bulldog Nation more fully or exuberantly than he did.
When John Candy died, John Larroquette said it was like losing a letter of the alphabet; you could still speak the language, but you’d never again be able to make as many words. So it is with the loss of Larry Munson. We are diminished by his passing, but not so much as we were ennobled by his presence. His name will forever be emblazoned on the press box, his voice will forever ring forth from the Sanford Stadium scoreboard, and, as red "G" flags are lowered to half-staff throughout Bulldog Nation and the battle hymn soloist prepares to blare "Taps" into the twilight from the southwest corner of the upper deck, we celebrate the life of the man who made us the fans we are by speaking straight from his heart straight into ours.
We are saddened by the loss, but we are thankful, this special week, for having had the privilege of hearing his words, and we look up to the shining canopy of Heaven as he leaps into the waiting arms of God, and we say: "There goes Munson . . . there goes Munson . . . there goes Munson . . ."
We love you, Larry.