Each summer, Washingtonians look forward to the moment when Members of Congress take a break from lawmaking and have some fun. We’re not talking about the August recess, but rather the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity.

On June 13, The Coca-Cola Company had a front-row seat to the long-standing athletic rivalry between Republicans and Democrats from both chambers of Congress. The annual game, founded in 1909 by former White Sox pitcher Representative John Tener of Pennsylvania, has withstood the test of time.  In the early years, Members of Congress were so serious about the game that on one occasion it delayed a decision on a bill! The tradition evolved into a fundraiser for local charities and this year the bipartisan effort raised over $300,000 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation and the Washington Literacy Center.

In light of the Democrats’ four-year winning streak, the Republican underdogs were determined to win this year’s game. With the addition of freshman Representative Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), a former college player, the Republicans were sure they would give the Democrats a run for their money.  And with star players like Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Representative Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) in the mix, they stood a chance. The Democrats had the athletic might of Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Representatives Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) on their side, but the player who stole this year’s show was the only female on the field – Representative Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.). Sanchez sent her teammates home twice while at bat, and was met with a standing ovation and cheers of “Let’s go Linda!” Ultimately, the competition was not as close as some had hoped, and the Democrats took home the victory with a 22-0 shutout performance. Win or lose, both sides got active and had some fun.

Fans hula hoop at the bipartisan baseball game

Fans hula hoop at the bipartisan baseball game.

Coca-Cola employees from the DC area not only enjoyed the spectacle, but encouraged attendees to follow their political leaders’ example and engage in some physical fitness this summer. Fans entering the stadium were met by members of the Coca-Cola team, who encouraged them to hula-hoop for prizes and vote in the America Is Your Park campaign. Designed to get Americans outdoor and active, America Is Your Park awards a $100,000 recreational grant and the title of “America’s Favorite Park” to the local, state or national park that gets the most votes. People can vote any time from a smartphone or computer, but if they “take it to the park” or log some exercise time their votes count for even more.

"Take it to the Park" cards at the bipartisan baseball game.

We’re looking forward to seeing Members of Congress take it to the (baseball) park again next year, but in the meantime, we will be engaging in some healthy competition of our own. See how many votes you can rack up for your favorite park by playing a team sport, going for a jog or spending time outdoors. And while you’re at it, rediscover the joy of being active!

Christopher Michael Huntley was a Federal Government and Diplomatic Relations Intern at The Coca-Cola Company this summer.