Rod Bramblett and his wife Paula passed away this weekend, the result of a car accident.
Almost every fan loves their radio announcer and hates everybody else's for the same reason, because usually, they are fans too. People don't usually like TV announcers because they're a corporate face on the game of the week, watching the game because it came up on the rotation, not because they wanted too. It's why everybody in the country think Gary and Verne are Alabama fans, except for Alabama fans who think Gary and Verne hate Alabama.
Radio guys are usually different. They're usually employed by or at least closely associated with the school, and usually, they're big flag waving fans themselves.
Rod was no different, an Auburn grad himself, who worked his way into position to replace Jim Fyffe, whose own life was cut short by a brain aneurysm.
Rod best showed his fanhood in an unlikely way... his exasperation. Despite recent success, Auburn's basketball team is historically one of the worst major college programs around. And listening to him call a random game from the mid 2000s that we were probably losing, you could hear the pain on his voice when he announced that Auburn had missed yet another free throw, or fouled the shooter at the 3 point line with no time left on the clock... wait... that was last month.
His most famous radio call was, of course, the Kick 6, and it's well deserved. My favorite was the week before, the Prayer in Jordan Hare .
The reason it's my favorite is the transition. There's a defeated exasperation in his voice. The reason that there is a defeated exasperation in his voice is that Auburn had given up a 20 point lead in the 4th quarter. A Georgia team that had put up 17 points in 3 quarters had suddenly put up 21 points in 8 minutes. An Auburn team that had scored 34 points in 3 quarters suddenly couldn't get a 1st down. Two 3 and outs for a total of -1 yards Big Mac'd between 3 Georgia touchdown drives.
Auburn's final drive managed to eeck out a total of 5 yards over 6 plays, and was facing a 4th and 18. Malzahn, like most other coaches, actually does have a play for this is the playbook. It's main components are sending a somebody deep, to pull off the coverage and coming underneath with a 20 yard deep crossing route.
And it worked. At the :07 second mark, Sammie Coates is open, right at 20 yards. But, our converted defensive back quarterback decides to throw for the triple covered deep route.
Rod tries to put a good spin on it, with an exasperated 'just a home run ball', because he's just like us, frustrated that Auburn has dropped a 21 point lead to fucking Georgia, and this sucks and it's another desperation heave that's not going to...
Only it does.
And in an instant, exasperation becomes joy and excitement and elation, and Rod's voice raised to match.
That's what being a fan is about, right? Why are we still fans when our team goes 3-9? Because it makes the good years that much sweeter.
Rod had the ability to be pro's pro, getting the information out quickly and clearly and yet, he could share in the joy and pain. After the Kick 6, he wasn't worried about 'fat guys' on the field, he was celebrating with everybody else in orange and blue. Because he was a fan.
And because he was a fan, I was a fan.