There are some things that enhance a fan’s experience with sports. Perhaps the lasting impression for most of us are the voices of the people who report about the game. They are the voices of the game.
For me, I will never forget the voice of Brent Musburger in the 1976 NBA finals when the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns battled through three overtimes in Game 5 where the Celtics prevailed 128-126.
The voice of Howard Cosell on Monday Night Football. Who could forget him?
And without a doubt, the voice of Al Michaels in the 1980 Team USA win over the USSR on the miracle on ice in the Winter Olympics with his “do you believe in miracles?”
I also have the memories of UGA football games with the legendary Larry Munson. His voice was the identity of Georgia Bulldogs football.
Last week we lost the man I called THE voice of Georgia High School football.
Tommy Palmer was that voice. Anyone who knows anything about Georgia High School football knows his name. His voice was a constant part of my experience every Friday night in the fall. Whether I was driving home after a game or listening at home, I would tune into his scoreboard show. His slow Southern drawl and moments of humor made it more than just reading the scores from the games. He also recorded podcasts each week for the Top Ten Teams and Top Games. Tommy also provided commentary for the state championship games.
I don’t remember when I actually started listening to Tommy but he was a part of my Friday night routine and a voice I will never forget.
Palmer revealed in May that he had been battling cancer since Aug. 17 and would enter hospice care after being given the diagnosis the his cancer was terminal. I had heard he was ill but I did not know it was that serious.
Palmer grew up in Claxton and worked in radio for 60 years, starting at age 16. He began work in TV in 1981. He began producing and hosting the Scoreboard Show in 2005. It reached a network of more than 50 stations in the state and took callers after the games who shared details of games they attended. Palmer also would interview coaches.
I never met Tommy Palmer but I have shared some emails and Facebook posts with him. I also shared a copy of my book “Passing Toward The Prize” with him. I also read his own book “The Daisy Boys Club” which is a great read about his life growing up in Daisy, Georgia.
The 2020 season won’t be the same for me without Tommy Palmer.