Congressional softball game nixes kids’ activities

The "Members" team at the Congressional Women's Softball Game in the Watkins dugout. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/The Washington Post)
The “Members” team at the 2013 Congressional Women’s Softball Game talk in the Watkins dugout. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/The Washington Post)

The annual congressional women’s softball game is a feel-good event: a team of journalists takes on a team of lawmakers, a good time is had by all, and the proceeds go to breast cancer research.

But this year’s matchup, slated for Wednesday night at Watkins Elementary School on Capitol Hill, comes at a cost. In an e-mail to parents, Watkins’ principal Dawn Clemens informed parents that hosting the game meant that after-school activities scheduled for Wednesday afternoon had to be cancelled.

“Although the game is at 6PM, the school and surrounding areas need to be evacuated by 4PM so security can sweep the school,” she wrote in the e-mail. “There will be no after school programming on June 18th and on June 20th, the last day of school.”

Like many schools, Watkins offers an “aftercare” program that provides kids a mix of fun and educational activities — and parents a way to fill a child-care gap between the end of the school day and the time they get off work.

The cancellation “definitely ticked some parents off,” says one parent who got the e-mail.

Kate Yglesias Houghton, the Democratic National Committee staffer who serves as the president of the game, said in a statement that the organization applied for a permit to use the field, just as it has in previous years.

“Each year, we work hard to accommodate everyone involved and affected by the game, including students and parents, and will continue to do what we can this year and for any future games at Watkins,” she said. “On behalf of the entire CWSG [Congressional Women's softball game] community, we would like to encourage everyone to come out tomorrow night and support a great cause.”

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.
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