Meet Chris Sarley. He works for Rep. Shimkus, but his second and likely much more grueling job for the last 10 years has been running the 108 team U.S. House Softball League in his spare time. We caught up with him about what that’s like, what he’s learned, and tips on becoming a coach.
1. How did someone trick you into managing the House Softball League ten years ago? Did you lose a bet?
All the credit goes to Anthony Reed who started the US House Softball League which is having our 10 Year Anniversary this season. We worked together and I helped him for the first 7 years. Then he left a dear john letter and disappeared leaving me holding the bag. Something about kids and keeping a family together. I’ll find him one day and make him pay.
2. What are some of the benefits that you think make the league so great?
We pride ourselves on striving to provide something for everyone from the Uncle Rico’s trying to relive the glory days to those who judge winning by making sure the cooler is empty by the end of the game. The league consistently has over 100 teams representing members, committees, delegations, caucuses, and downtown groups so unlike other leagues it has always been designed around the culture of the hill. Some highlights:
Cost: $100 entire team fee – we all work on hill salaries right?
Schedule: We understand member offices and committees have different schedules that make one day better for some, and less great for others, so we allow teams to schedule games on the days convenient for them.
Social: We have a pre-season, mid-season, and Tournament Selection Show at our official bar sponsor Capitol Lounge where we provide some kegs of beer and food for everyone to hang-out off the field.
Tournament Event: We do a one-day tournament for the top 44 teams but have worked to turn it into an end of summer celebration of the season for everyone regardless of your team making it. In recent years we have added food, beer, music, corn hole. This year look for an all-day beer truck as we have partnered up locally with Budweiser.
You can register and check it all out at www. Housesoftball.com and feel free to email us with any questions at [email protected]
3. What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned managing the league?
- It rains every day from 4-530 pm during softball season you just have to get over it and play.
- It is easier to apply and receive a federal grant than a permitted softball field in DC.
- Coaches might as well take the first day of game scheduling off because you are getting no work done.
- There is no limit to the amount of people who can fit in the Capitol Lounge on a Thursday night.
- The US House Softball League is a rite of passage on Capitol Hill thousands of staff and interns love and those participants make it possible for us to bring the league back stronger and better year after year.
4. Any advice for juggling extra-curriculars with work for burgeoning softball coaches?
1. Start laying the ground work in your office in late winter/early spring that you have a lot of afternoon meetings out of the office. Then during softball season it won’t be uncommon for you to be missing when you have to grab beer and ice, field squat, or pick up slacker teammates.
2. Have a robust summer intern program for all the reasons listed above. They are eager to please and some of them might even be able to play ball.
3. Schedule games that peak your bosses interest. Nothing will extend a deadline for getting a dear colleague out more than a good ole rivalry like Jersey Fresh (NJ) v. What Exit?(NJ), Big Riggin (WI) v. Milwaukee’s Best (WI), or Blue Mold (NC) v. The Moonshiners (NC). Just be prepared to let them play in the game.
5. What’s your favorite gametime memory?
No question it was fielding the final out for DGS to win the 2012 US House Softball League Championship. The team, Denny’s Grand Slam (DGS), was was formed in Speaker Hastert’s office and had been together for a long time. We decided at the beginning of the season it was the last year for our team win or lose. To go out on top with the crew that brought us there over the years beating a team full of ringers was amazing.
6. President Obama strolls down the fields during gametime and wants to swing at a few, what team do you think he’d jump on?
What a dangerous question for a hill staffer to answer!
Liberal Agenda or Left Swingers.