Congress returns from its recess this week, but more importantly for sports fans, so does professional football. And it will be in grand style indeed, with the season premiere of Monday Night Football featuring the Philadelphia Eagles coming to town to take on the Washington Redskins.
So if you notice a little drop-off in attendance in the Senate around, say, 6:55 p.m., it's likely some of the eyeballs are turning from the World's Greatest Deliberative Body toward FedEx Field in Landover, Md., where Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III and his rebuilt knee will single-handedly fulfill or dash the Bandwagon Club's Super Bowl dreams.
ESPN started its pregame show a few weeks ago, so tune in anytime.
What if football's not your thing? That's not a problem Monday night, as the 15th Annual Congressional Basketball Game comes to George Washington University's Charles E. Smith Center. Tipoff for the double-header, which features some of the more athletically inclined among the city's lobbying corps taking on members of Congress and their staffers, is set for 6 p.m. with the staff/lobbyist II game. The members/lobbyists game has a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.
Paul A. Miller of Miller/Wenhold Capitol Strategies, one of the organizers and a lobbyist captain, is talking some serious trash, despite the lobbyists' lack of recent wins. "It's not even going to be close this year," he boasted.
Asked why this time will be different, Miller said, "We're just tired of losing."
"A lot of people say we let them win. I wish that were true," he said, adding that the lobbyists' losses have included everything from blowouts to buzzer-beating heartbreakers. "We've assembled a team that will return the trophy to its rightful spot — my office," Miller predicted.
John Thompson III, head coach for the men's team at Georgetown University, will direct the members, perhaps accounting for an advantage. Then again, ex-Rep. Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo., now at Polsinelli Shughart, can give his lobbyist mates some insight into the minds of the members.
Rounding out the high-profile D.C. sports week is the beginning of the Washington Nationals' last regular-season stretch at Nationals Park on Friday, Sept. 13. It's unclear whether the date is significant. The Nats' season has been so up and down, with outfielder Jayson Werth saying at one point that the team was "snakebit," that it's hard not to read into it. Regardless, this last stand features a host of the Nats' division rivals, starting with the Philadelphia Phillies, continuing with the Atlanta Braves and ending against the Miami Marlins on Sept. 22. Perhaps Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will attend a few games. After all, we all know how much he digs star outfielder Bryce Harper, a Las Vegas native.