Who has words for the moment when one so good at words for the moment falls silent?
Leave it to a guy famous for crossing the goal line to leave us that metaphor.
Those were thoughts from a difficult weekend for thinking. First, voice of Auburn sports Rod Bramblett and wife Paula died Saturday from injuries sustained in an automobile crash. Within hours, we learned that former Alabama and Green Bay Packers quarterback Bart Starr died.
Word streams go dry at such times.
In the years I covered Auburn sports, I found Bramblett to be every bit the nicest of people. My multi-pronged job description meant that I couldn’t be in Auburn as much as other writers, but he always greeted me by name. He was a disarming presence.
I never met Starr, only glimpsed him at a fitness place in Birmingham. It was early 1990s, when I worked in Kentucky and came south to follow Western Kentucky basketball.
I always heard good things about Starr from my dad. The Vince Lombardi-era Packers won his fandom, and the “Purple People Eater” Vikings won mine. I never felt the sense of rivalry that fans from that part of the country feel, however, and Starr radiated respectability and kindness.
In their way, Bramblett and Starr came off as the safest of spaces. Count it among the greatest of qualities.
It’s sad know that, as it was with Jim Fyffe in 2003, Bramblett never got to give us the sign-off of a beloved, retiring broadcaster. It’s comforting to think that they experienced their own “Touchdown, Auburn!” in the great beyond.
It’s also comforting to think that the quarterback who famously crossed the goal line in the Ice Bowl crossed it one last time. Only this time, the other side knew he was coming.