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Tennis Interruptus — Votes Intrude on Charity Match


Flake, left, and Merkley get the news. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)
Flake, left, and Merkley get the news. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

Work, work, work. Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., were warming up for Wednesday night’s Washington Kastles Charity Classic tennis match when they got the court-side call: They were needed back on Capitol Hill for a vote on the highway bill . “Some of our players are not here yet, because they are making our government run more effectively,” public announcer Wes Johnson said (even though the two were there and had to drop their racquets to return to the Hill).  

The vote recall required a little last-minute scramble to the order of play, with Rep. Bob Dold, R-Ill., subbing in for Merkley to play with Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., for the Stars team against Reps. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., and Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, of the Stripes team. But all went swimmingly. The teams were more bipartisan that way, and the show, raising money for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, DC Ed Fund and Food & Friends, got underway, a mix-and-match doubles tournament that allowed all talent levels, from professionals like Sam Querrey and Anastasia Rodionova to current members and formers like ex-Sen. John Breaux, D-La., reporters like Ed Henry and all-around sportsmen such as DC United Coach Ben Olsen.  

Breaux, left, was teamed with Gene Sperling, former director of the National Economic Council. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)
Breaux, left, was teamed with Gene Sperling, right, former director of the National Economic Council. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

Flake, by the way, voted “yea” to proceed on the transit legislation, Merkley voted “nay” and the two were back at Kastles Stadium at George Washington University’s Smith Center in short order.  

The mood was light. When Dold went ahead with a second serve and almost tagged a ball girl retrieving his first-serve fault, Johnson said over the loudspeaker, “A gentle reminder to the participants: Please do not kill the ball girl.”  

The Kastles’ Leander Paes and Coach Murphy Jensen provided the smack-talking. “Bring it, Murph. Bring the heat,” Paes taunted Jensen in the overtime series of the match that featured, as Johnson said, “some Kastles on Kastles violence.”  

Jensen then faulted, and Paes laughed. Paes backed it up a few points later, winning the match outright for the Stars on a modest second serve that sealed a 46-43 victory.  

The match was done. Breaux won the MVP. Charities got some money. Everyone headed to Circa on 23rd Street for an after-match beverage, another bipartisan sporting affair in the books.

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