This was a rare year in sport, the first in some time that actually ends with peace on earth, good will among men with no special affection for one another - owners and players.
It was a year that ends with nothing profound either in the courts or on the bargaining table, one dominated by athletes instead of Peter Seitz and Ed Garvey, Marvin Miller and assorted judges, when we said goodbye to Pele and hello to Steve Cauthen.
There was an excess of excess, feats that might not happen for another decade followed one after another: Rod Carew's .388 and Al Geiberger's 59, A. J. Foyt's fourth victory at Indy and Seattle Slew's triple crown, Cauthen winning more than $6 million in purses before he mastered Algebra and the Canadiens dominating hockey like no other team in on other major pro sport.
And Kim Hughes. Who? The Net who somehow managed to shoot 27 per cent from the free-throw line, 19 for 69. Yes, even the negative was overflowing, from ABC's boxing scandal to Kermit Washington being fined $10,000 and suspended at least two months for the most wicked right hook in the NBA.
Reggie Jackson surely must be sulking. No one ever is likely to accomplish what he did in the World Series - hit four home runs on four straight swings - and yet year's end finds him overshadowed by the 5-foot-1 Cauthen.
This was a year that reaffirmed some basic truths about sport: that a team (the Portland Trail Blazers) still can beat five wonderfully gifted soloists (the Philadelphia 76ers), that blockers are more important in football than runners, or at least to the Super Bowl winners, the Raiders, and no one buys a championship quite likely the New York Yankees.
The person who went the highest and then back down the quickest in sports was not an athlete but a trainer, Billy Turner, who also was directly involved in the divorce of the year and indirectly involved in the inappropriate gesture of the year.
Turner somehow managed to train Seattle Slew to the triple crown and remain exquisitely human all the while, amazingly approachable at the most tense moments. He gave us a close-up glimpse of Everyman under intense pressure.
How would most of us handle the final moments before a Derby or a Preakness or a Belmont Stakes with an odds-on favorite such as Slew? Exactly. With a stiff drink. And there was Turner, under the grandstand with the $2 bettors, belting down a double vodka just before post time.
He needed an assist before the Belmont, because an overworked bartender refused to serve him as he tried to crash the liquor line seconds before the race. Nobody needed it more - and a nearby security guard came through as Slew was about to leave the gate.
The year's rags-to-riches story had an unhappy ending, though, when Slew's owners and Turner parted company.