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In all, the Touchdown Club presents 25 Timmies or other awards, and Raider Quarterback Ken Stabler also collects the $25,000 Hickok Belt as Professional Athlete of the Year. Stabler follows with the only sober thought of the program. "Our country just elected a new quarterback," he says, "and I think we should all get behind his game plan to show that his nation is still the greatest in the world."
The program ends almost on the stroke of midnight. In the lobby, Billy Carter has a slug of bourbon straight from the bottle.
MENU—A seafood bisque. Mixed green salad with romaine, croutons, chopped egg, bacon bits, Caesar dressing. Individual eight-ounce filet mignon Perigourdine. Oven-roasted potatoes. Italian green beans. Water chestnuts. Tomato embassy. Savarin of chocolate ice cream filled with pistachio ice cream and pastry puffs. Coffee.
Unlike the Houston and Washington functions, the Spokane banquet is mainly a family affair, with the accent on local charm and church-social warmth. And unlike Houston and Washington, Spokane has not hired a celebrity M.C. or toastmaster. Pratt is a local furniture dealer.
In contrast to the Houston and Washington head tables, both of which seemed long enough for a 747 to land, Spokane's dais seats only 22. The wall behind it is adorned with caricatures of the special guests; Garvey is wearing a red cap, not the familiar Dodger blue.
"We've had many famous athletes here," Pratt says. "We've had O. J. Simpson, Fran Tarkenton, Jesse Owens and Rocky Marciano. But there's one athlete we've always wanted but have never been able to get. The most publicized figure in the history of sports. Every Saturday afternoon on ABC's Wide World of Sports, he falls off the ski jump. He's got a French name. I think it's Agonee Defite."
Dorsett, wearing a red carnation that matches the color of his shirt, recaps Pittsburgh's national championship season. Then he says, "It's really nice to be in Spokane because it's extremely cold in Pittsburgh right now. It's hard to believe that some of you people here want snow. If you had let me know, I would have brought some with me." Garvey, who played minor league baseball in Spokane, asks the fans to think of pro athletes as entertainers, especially in salary matters. And Musburger, the CBS broadcaster, reports that the question he hears most often is: "Where's Phyllis?" The attentive audience is delighted and would be, one suspects, even if Dorsett, Garvey and Musburger elected to talk about air traffic patterns in Za�re.
The big winner is Brewster, Wash. (pop. 1,420). The Brewster High basketball team takes the team-of-the-year honor for its 71-game winning streak, and Brewster's Dick Olson receives the coach-of-the-year award. The local pro athlete of the year is Texas Ranger rookie Second Baseman Bump Wills, son of ex-Dodger Maury, and the local amateur athlete of the year is Center John Yar-no, Idaho's first football All-America.