From left: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. Donna Edwards and Rep. Laura Richardson give high fives as the Member's team is introduced at the Congressional Women's Softball Game, featuring Congress vs. the media in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
“I feel so jubilant,” Wasserman Schultz said. “It makes me so proud, and it’s so meaningful to me as a breast cancer survivor, as a young breast cancer survivor, that all these women come out every year and the heart that they put into this game. Of course I want to win, but my teammates played to the bitter end, we are one heck of a tough competitive group, and it’s one heck of an honor to play on this team.”
The game, played at Watkins Recreation Center in Southeast D.C., offers the spectators who come out to watch a rare look at Members of Congress with their hair down — literally — and gives the female members of the press corps the chance to take a few jabs at some of the people they cover on a daily basis.
“This game is really twofold,” said Bad News Babes co-captain Brianna Keilar of CNN. “It’s for a good cause, the Young Survival Coalition, which raises awareness and funds for young survivors of breast cancer. ... But I’ve got to be honest, it’s awesome to be able to compete against Members of Congress. We’re so used to having to cover these newsmakers, and it’s great to be able to get out there on the field, and hey, if there’s a friendly little bump out there on the field, it’s OK, you can do it.”
Aside from the hundreds of Hill staffers and members of the press who came to watch the game, a who’s who of Congress showed up to support their colleagues, including Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who was also supporting his daughter, Jackie Kucinich, a reporter at USA Today.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, also a breast cancer survivor, served as the announcers of the game, adding color commentary to the tongue-in-cheek event.
Klobuchar declared Pelosi the good luck charm for the Member squad because their bats opened up after she showed up later on in the game. And Mitchell couldn’t resist making puns when she told Members in the crowd to come up to the announcer’s booth to get asked “softball questions.”
Jennifer Merschdorf, CEO of the YSC, said the event went off without a hitch.
“One of the coolest things about this event is that — women from the press corps and women in Congress — everyone is sort of putting all that stuff aside for a night to raise awareness that young women can and do get breast cancer,” Merschdorf said. “I think it’s really cool and I’m really proud of everybody.”
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.