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'IN THE SPIRIT OF JOY AND SOME JOY OF THE SPIRIT'
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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"Yar-no, Yar-no," Musburger enunciates to Dor-sett. "You stay close to Big John, Tony. Guys like him are going to save your life."

MENU—Green salad with shrimp, choice of two dressings. Prime ribs of beef au jus. Foil-wrapped baked potato with chive butter. Garden green beans. Angel food cake with chocolate frosting. Bread and butter. Coffee.

COLUMBUS—22nd Annual Touchdown Club All-Sports Award Dinner. Sheraton Columbus Motor Hotel. M.C.: Paul Hornung. Tickets: $60. Special guests: Olympic gold medalists Jennifer Chandler, John Naber, Edwin Moses. Attendance: 988.

Previously a stag affair, the Touchdown Club shatters precedent by presenting one of its 42 awards to a woman. She is high school senior Jenni Chandler, the Olympic three-meter diving champion from Lincoln, Ala., who, coincidentally, plans to enroll at Ohio State in the fall.

Ironically, the bow to one lady coincides with a slap from another: Phyllis George, the CBS sports announcer, was scheduled to share M.C. duties with Hornung, but she was a last-minute no-show, having suddenly been assigned to cover the world figure-skating championships in Finland. Columbus is buried under one of the worst snowstorms of the winter, and several Touchdown Club members who executed perfect double Salchows on their way to the dinner grouse that George simply backed out.

George is missed, though, because Hornung fills the air with leaden lines that are about as exciting as Woody Hayes' passing game.

For the first time in five years the Touchdown Club has no reason to honor Archie Griffin, and while there seems to be no reason—aside from his durability over 17 NFL seasons—to honor Defensive End Jim Marshall of the Minnesota Vikings, Marshall (along with Conrad Dobler of St. Louis) is welcomed as Pro Lineman of the Year. Marshall played at Ohio State.

"We did the best job we could," Marshall says of Minnesota's most recent Super Bowl failure, a game in which the Raiders ran over Marshall at will. "It wasn't good enough this time or the time before or the time before that or the time before that, but one of these years maybe we'll do the job."

While the emphasis is on football, Ralph Kiner, the former baseball slugger, and Jenni Chandler offer the best lines.

"I'll give you an idea of what kind of team the Pirates were when I was a player," Kiner says. "Our catcher was Joe Garagiola."

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