Rep. Ralph Norman came to Congress at a pivotal time for congressional sports.
The South Carolina Republican was sworn in on June 26, just 11 days after the Congressional Baseball Game and 12 days after the shooting at the GOP team’s practice. Now, he is making his congressional sports debut as a rookie lawmaker at the 19th annual Member of Congress Charity Basketball Game on Tuesday.
“I’ve always enjoyed sports, and in D.C., with eating out all the time, it’s a good way to keep healthy,” Norman said.
He said he wants to play in other congressional sporting events, too, such as the baseball game.
Given the current tempo of the congressional schedule, the members’ team, which includes other freshman players, hasn’t had a practice session.
“My only trick will be breathing heavy, but I guess that’s the only trick I will have. There will be some younger players there,” Norman joked.
The congressman played basketball growing up and said he likes it better than football.
“I went out and got cut twice so I wasn’t good enough to make [the high school basketball team],” he said.
He later coached his children’s teams.
The charity basketball game pits a bipartisan team of members against a team of lobbyists. Another team of staffers will play lobbyists in a separate game. The event raises money for the Hoops for Youth Foundation, which helps at-risk local kids in the D.C. community.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who has played in the past, is still recovering from his wounds at the baseball practice and will not be there, but his close colleague House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is scheduled to play.
Norman won a special election in June to fill South Carolina’s 5th District seat left vacant when former Rep. Mick Mulvaney was picked by President Donald Trump to be director of the Office of Management and Budget.
The lobbyists’ teams include players from Miller/Wenhold Capitol Strategies, AFLAC and Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, as well as the American Trucking Associations and Western Union, among others. The staffers’ team includes staff from the Senate Finance Committee and the offices of Sens. Richard M. Burr of North Carolina and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, among others.
Tipoff for the members’ game is at 7:30 p.m., following the staffers’ game. The event is at George Washington University’s Smith Center (600 22nd St. NW), and admission is free.
Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Mich.
Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill.
Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio