As election-year politics ramp up between Democrats and Republicans, one event on the horizon is certain to offer female Members a brief respite from the partisan divide that has so often characterized the 111th Congress.
No, it’s not a summit. It’s the second Congressional Women’s Softball Game. This year’s game is tentatively set for June 16, with a rain date of June 23, and will be held at Guy Mason Field at 3600 Calvert St. NW in Georgetown.
The bipartisan event, co-hosted by Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), wasn’t short on drama last year.
In the midst of a heated summer-long health care debate, the liberal Wasserman Schultz — who announced in March 2009 that she had been diagnosed and treated for breast cancer after privately living with her disease since 2007 — partnered with conservative Emerson to put party politics aside for a day and raised more than $50,000 for the Young Survival Coalition, an organization that focuses on issues unique to young women and breast cancer.
The game featured two bipartisan lineups, such notable attendees as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and a compelling late-inning rally that saw the Members fall just short of beating an opposing team made up of female staffers from the Democratic and GOP campaign committees.
Wasserman Schultz also broke her leg in a hard-nosed slide into second. Despite having to be carried off the field, she doggedly stressed that she was safe on the play and stayed after the game to offer comments and congratulations at the awards ceremony.
The event grew out of Wasserman Schultz’s desire to host a charity fundraiser for breast cancer after receiving an outpouring of support after her announcement. An avid fan of Roll Call’s annual Congressional Baseball Game, Wasserman Schultz began mulling the idea of a women’s softball game, which was eventually borne out of a conversation with Emerson.
Together the two organized the event, which was generally considered a resounding success by those who participated and attended, said Jonathan Beeton, a spokesman for Wasserman Schultz.
The rare showing of bipartisanship for a good cause “really spoke to the nature of the game that night,” Beeton said.
This year female Members will face off against women of the press.