Every wanted to see Congressmen get filthy dirty and dripping wet*? Make it out to the annual Congressional Roll-Call Baseball fundraiser.
This was the second baseball game I have ever been to–the first being a Giants vs Dodgers game last Christmas break. Watching professional politicians play baseball was much more satisfying than watching professional baseball players. It was raining intermittently, but the Congressmen played the 7 scheduled innings. Boy was it fun to watch them dive for balls and slide and run around and get sweaty and dirty. I was really surprised at the athleticism of the Congressmen–they were running and jumping hard.
The chanting was seriously wonkish. Republicans chanted “GOP GOP” and Dems chanted “Yes We Can”, and, when they won their first game in 8 years, we chanted “Yes We Did”. However, when Congressman Jeff Flake stepped up to the plate, there were chants of “Earmarks, Earmarks”, and “Pork! Pork!”. Congressman Flake has a strong position against earmarks.
However, the game was only half the fun. The gossip in the stands was incredible. Whether at the lovely tailgate (yummy artichoke dip), or politician spotting (see below: Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and Congressman James Clyburn, with Congressman Mike Doyle behind), the people were what made the game memorable. Life on the Hill is so different than what I am living now. Networking is like breathing to the staffers and lobbyists and politicians I chatted with throughout the night. Everyone knows everyone.
Take-away: DC is a small town, so be conscious about all political statements and choices.
How I got the above photo is a good example of that easy networking. I saw a young woman taking photos with a lovely camera right in front of me, and about an hour in I just leaned over and asked if I could use them. I gave her my email, and she gave me her card, and before I even had time to send her a thank-you note, she had invited me to view her photos. Because everyone has something to offer, everyone was friendly and interested in talking.
Washington DC is an extrovert’s paradise.
Also, I got a CSPAN hat. Awesome.
*With one woman per team (neither of them on the field), referring to the players as Congressmen is simply accurate.
“Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed.”–Ray Bradbury