Note: This here article contains opinion.
Welcome to Week Five of the Pembroke Mafia Football League, and as the late great Frank Inman used to say, “Boy howdy.”
And in that regard, please excuse a long trip down Memory Lane. You see Inman, the color analyst alongside Georgia Southern play-by-play announcer Nate Hirsch, passed away in 2008 at the age of 85. Hirsch, the Voice of the Eagles and a Hall of Fame announcer, died in 2016, so they’re no longer with us, obviously.
But in their prime they were golden. For those of us poor newspaper hacks around back then listening to Eagles games on the radio because we had to work in the newsroom on Saturdays or polish off sports sections with high school football results, well, they were vital. Important, even.
Sure, their replacements have been good, but I don’t think anybody’s come close to matching Inman and Hirsch since. And probably won’t. The soft-spoken Inman could be talking about kangaroos eating twigs and make it sound like a football Saturday afternoon. “You see how he pulled out about kangaroos eating twigs and make it sound like a football play.“You and fought off that blocker to follow that twig there, Nate, and then caught it just as it was about to get to the line of scrimmage to get eaten by that other kangaroo,” Frank could say. “It was just a great play by the weakside kangaroo. Boy howdy.”
Hirsch, a New Yorker by birth but we forgave him that, made big plays sound monumental. He got excited and we got excited, and it was almost like you wanted to run outside and roll around naked in the leaves a while. Or maybe not. Still, Hirsch and Inman did have one drawback far as I was concerned. They’d forget to give the score.
I once drove from Hinesville to Rincon in a back and forth road game somewhere, maybe Elon or Furman – this was back in Georgia Southern’s Southern Conference Days – and I had no idea of the score from the time I got in my pickup in Hinesville until I got to the KOA in Richmond Hill when mercifully the half ended or something and they had to give the stats.
That’s part of reason kids today just don’t know what they’re missing, what with all the modern technology going on.
There was a virtue to not having everything right there at your fingertips when sometimes radio was your only live link to the greatest sport invented. You had to put up with announcers forgetting to update the score or driving out of range of a radio station just when the Eagles were about to put the nail in Furman’s coffin. It was aggravating, but it instilled character.
Still does, and it brings back memories, such as the time my late father, who along with my mom were longtime GS boosters and season ticket holders, and I stood in the kitchen of their home on Lake Gale and listened to Georgia Southern play at Delaware in the quarterfinals of the I-AA playoffs in 1997. It was coach Paul Johnson’s first year back in Statesboro, this time as head coach, and it was freezing cold up there, so that was the fastest game I ever heard anybody call and I think me and Dad both wound up wearing sweatpants and sweat shirts even though it was probably 75 degrees outside in Midway.
There were and are other great announcers. I can still halfway remember University of South Carolina legend Bob Fulton calling a Dickie Harris punt return 97 yards for a touchdown against North Carolina back in 1970, and I am a fan of current USC announcers, Tommy Suggs and Todd Ellis, both great Gamecock quarterbacks.
But, and it pains me to say this, nobody on earth ever did it better than the Georgia Bulldog’s Larry Munson on radio (especially when the Dawgs were losing) and Keith Jackson on TV. And for the record, Coastal Courier Editor and General Manager Pat Donahue can do one of the best Munson imitations I’ve ever heard.
Add in hearing Leonard’s Loser’s on the way to Paulson on a Saturday morning to see the Eagles play back in the day and there was no beating college football in the South.
And there still ain’t, even in a South being reinvaded by northerners and transformed by Florida carpetbaggers. So GATA, folks.
This week’s standings: Former Bryan County News Assistant Editor Ted O’Neil leads with only eight misses to date. Mike Clark, Noah Covington, the Rev. Lawrence Butler and Ben Taylor are tied for second with 10 misses each. Oh, and Ben is from Ashburn, the Fire Ant Capitol of the World. You can’t beat that with a stick. B.J. Clark, chairman of the board, and Mike Brown, the world’s oldest sportswriter, have 11 misses each to tie for third. Gene Wallace, DMD, is in fourth with 12 misses. Freddy Howell, fire chief, is in fifth with 14 misses. Behind him is your’s truly, with 15. Alex Floyd is in seventh with 16 misses so far and a certain Carter “Pius Esquemious” Infinger is in last pace with 17 misses. Selected picks for this week: UGA vs. Auburn: B.J., Alex and you’re truly foolishly pick Auburn. Well, in my case I wouldn’t pick Georgia if my life depended on it. Luckily it doesn’t. Alabama vs. Mississippi State: B.J. and Alex pick the Bulldogs. B.J. feels about Alabama like I feel about Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State. In short, he don’t like ‘em. A lot.
That’s all we got room for this week, sports fans.
Boy Howdy. Don’t forget to root for ABC - anybody but Clemson.