Larry Munson: Better Than Being There

From Kathy Sue Loudermilk, I Love You; 1979

Sometime in the wee hours of Sunday morning, my telephone rang. Even the ring sounded drunk. Among a number of other bad things, alcohol in large quantities dulls the ability of the user to tell time.

I muttered a groggy, hesitant, “Hello?”

“Gooooooo Daaaawgs!” was the reply from the other end. Deliver me from Billy Bulldog when it’s the middle of the night, Georgia won, and the whisky hasn’t run out.

“That you, Dorsey?” I asked. It had to be. It had to be Dorsey Hill, the world’s biggest Bulldog fan. Dorsey Hill thinks when you die you go to Vince Dooley’s house. He can’t wait.

Last year, when Georgia lost to Kentucky, 33-0, Dorsey claimed it didn’t count because Kentucky was on probation for recruiting violations and had too many players from New Jersey.

“Best team money could buy,” is how he described the victorious Wildcats, who went on to tie for the Southeastern Conference title. Dorsey dies hard.

I was awake enough by now to realize why the telephone call. Only hours before, Georgia had avenged last season’s loss to Kentucky with a thrilling 17-16 victory in Lexington. The Bulldogs had trailed 16-0 in the third quarter.

“I never gave up,” Dorsey said. “After the miracle at Grant Field Saturday, I knew the Lord would give us one, too.”

He was referring to Georgia Tech’s equally thrilling 17-13 defeat to Florida Saturday afternoon. Dorsey doesn’t like Georgia Tech or anyone else who does.

“I like it when we sweep a double-header,” he explains. “That’s when Georgia wins and Tech loses.”

I have never quite understood that thinking, but there are those among the Georgia Tech followers who feel the same about the Bulldogs.

“I wouldn’t pull for Georgia,” a Tech man once told me, “with one engine out on the team plane.”

I thought Saturday was one of the grandest days in Georgia collegiate football history. Tech wins its sixth straight and Grant Field hasn’t been that full of life in years.

That old house on North Avenue literally trembled with delight when Eddie Lee Ivery scored the Yellow Jackets’ winning touchdown.

And Georgia’s drive to the Rex Robinson field goal in the final moments was a classic profile in sporting courage. Georgia is only two victories – Florida and Auburn – away from another SEC championship and a trip to the Sugar Bowl. That is astounding when you consider that in the pre-season, the Bulldogs bore a strong resemblance to Vanderbilt.

I am almost frightened to consider the ramifications of a Falcons’ victory over the Rams Monday night at the stadium. If the clinkers win, close the schools and banks and I demand a parade.

There was one other hero Saturday besides the Eddie Lee Iverys, the Willie McClendons, and the Rex Robinsons. He is a fiftyish fellow from Minnesota.

He worked in Wyoming for a time, and then spent years and years in Nashville. He moved to Atlanta only a few months ago, but he is one of us now.

“The traffic here,” he says, “is murder.”

Larry Munson has been broadcasting Georgia football games for thirteen years. Saturday night was his finest hour. His description of the closing moments of the Georgia-Kentucky game, said a man listening with me, “is Bobby Thomson’s home run against the Dodgers all over again.”

It was so good, the Sunday paper reprinted Munson’s call of the winning Georgia field goal word-for-word.

It’s set down, it looks good – watch it! YEAH! YEAH! YEAH! YEAH! Three seconds left! Rex Robinson put ’em ahead, 17-16!”

It was so good, Dorsey Hill said, “listening to Larry Munson was better than being there.”

Frame that one, Larry. There is no higher praise.

Lewis Grizzard

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