SI Vault
Ron Reid
February 28, 1977
The sports-award banquet circuit is one of the rites of winter, a time to get Tony Dorsett's autograph, drink a beer with Billy Carter and hear some jokes
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February 28, 1977

'in The Spirit Of Joy And Some Joy Of The Spirit'

The sports-award banquet circuit is one of the rites of winter, a time to get Tony Dorsett's autograph, drink a beer with Billy Carter and hear some jokes

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"...and in the Inaugural parade, Carter got out and walked. You'd think the last President would have left enough gas in the car."

At award time, Hope opens the envelope and asks Ford to help announce the winner.

"What's the matter," Ford asks, "can't you read?"

"No," says Hope. "It's got Melvin Dummar's fingerprints on it."

In a pleasant, parochial surprise for the audience, the Lombardi winner is Houston's own Whitley. "I'd like to thank my sisters for my career," he says. "They kind of talked Mom into letting me play football. In the eighth grade I was 6'3" and 225 pounds, and my mother was afraid I was going to go out and hurt someone."

MENU—Tossed seasonal salad with sliced cucumber, egg, tomato and tiny bay shrimp, vinaigrette dressing. Broiled nine-ounce rib eye steak, sauce Bordelaise. Potatoes rissol�. Broccoli Mornay. Broiled tomato amandine. Cr�pes Georgette, strawberry sauce. Coffee. Rolls and butter.

WASHINGTON—42nd Annual Touchdown Club Awards Dinner. Sheraton Park Hotel. Toastmaster: Mark Russell. Tickets: $45. Special guests: Supreme Court Justice Byron White, Senators Richard Schweiker and James Sasser, Congressman Jack Kemp and brother-of-the-President Billy Carter. Attendance: 2,000 (stag). Black tie.

Proclaimed as the granddaddy of all sports banquets, the Touchdown Club's bash has caught some heat from The Washington Post for its policy of excluding women. This criticism contributes to the raucous humor of the evening and leads, for the first time in memory, to an invocation that is interrupted by laughter and followed by thunderous applause.

It is delivered by Father Thomas Kane, O.P., who intones, "Dear God, our Father and Friend, this evening we male chauvinists come to you in the spirit of joy and some joy of the spirit. But, dear God, we come primarily to thank you for the masculine liberation from unmanly prejudice, jealousy, ingratitude and resentment. Dear God, teach us daily to admit our masculine limitations and to accept our distinct masculine creatureliness. Dear God, make us always conscious of our masculine potential for being your sons and make us equally conscious of how this potentiality for Godlike greatness can be perverted by denying the brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of God. Dear God, tonight as we honor and extol the masculine quality of athletic superiority in our brothers, grant to those we honor and the other speakers on this rostrum the equally masculine superior quality of brevity in speech."

The hotel ballroom is as spacious as an airplane hangar. In order for the paying guests to see each recipient of a Timmie, the 200-foot head table is intersected at its midpoint by a runway with a microphone at the end for acceptance speeches.

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