By People Staff
February 02, 1976 12:00 PM

I walked into a crowd of about 1,400 people and there was a dead silence,” says Rep. Patricia Schroeder of Colorado. “It was as if a member of the PLO had entered a synagogue.”

The inner sanctum that Representative Schroeder unwittingly had violated—and from which she was later ejected by six men—was the annual gathering of the Touchdown Club of Washington. An all-male fortress for 41 years, club members assembled recently to present awards to the athletes of the year (Minnesota quarterback Fran Tarkenton, Cincinnati catcher Johnny Bench, Ohio State coach Woody Hayes).

In addition, to celebrate the Bicentennial Year, the club patriotically issued a list of “Athletes of the Century”: golfer Jack Nicklaus, boxer Muhammad Ali, jockey Eddie Arcaro, baseball’s Joe DiMaggio and basketball’s Wilt Chamberlain.

Even Henry Kissinger got a medal—for being the government official who best fostered the growth of sports, nationally and internationally. “I was quite a soccer player in Germany,” the portly Kissinger noted. “If I’m out of a job next fall, the Redskins ought to draft me as a field goal kicker.”