The Open Man countdowns to the 2018 college football season with 129 — in honor of the 129 programs participating in the Football Bowl Subdivision this year — things we love (and some we hate) about the sport. Click the 129 Things tag to see every entry.
For me, it was Bob and Max.
I’m sure every sports loving kid who grew up with a favorite college team had those voices, the local radio broadcasters. Each time you heard them speak, just the sound of it was simultaneously exhilarating and strangely comforting.
You celebrated the wins and mourned the losses together. They were adjacent to your heroes, but also right there with you in the living room or the car.
I didn’t get to hear much of Bob Davis and Max Falkenstien, the longtime Kansas Jayhawk radio duo, during the final few years of their three decades in the booth together. I moved to the East Coast after college, and there I got to hear and sometimes even got to know other legends at other schools: North Carolina’s Woody Durham, Duke’s Bob Harris, Virginia’s Mac McDonald, come to mind.
They were all fantastic with wonderful stories to tell. If you grew up in ACC country there’s a decent chance just hearing one of those voices immediately recalls a favorite memory.
But, boy, did I miss Bob and Max.
But the world is getting less provincial and technology has a way of taking us places even when we can’t be there. I listen to Brian Hanni, Kansas’ new play-by-play man dozens of times a year on satellite radio. Plenty of others get their “local” broadcasts streaming online, even if they haven’t been local for years.
Not only that, my world has been opened up to the amazing local play-by-play voices all over the nation. Gotta run to the grocery store late on a Saturday night? I might not have much of a rooting interest in a random Nevada-San Diego State game, but there is something that draws you in when you hear announcers who obviously care so much.
There are classic voices, there are fountains of institutional knowledge, there are blatant homers and some who really just aren’t that good. But it’s hard to find a local broadcast that doesn’t suck you right into the stadium with them.