Members of Congress and members of both the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams came together on Tuesday to hold a free-throw shooting contest to raise awareness for the Congressional Olympic & Paralympic Caucus - and, of course, to award a crown to the best free-throw shooter in Congress.
Teaming up with an Olympic or Paralympic athlete each, the official contest would combine shooting scores of both the representatives and the athletes - a point that was proven moot when Olympic basketball champion and current member of the WNBA's Connecticut Sun hit 33 free throws in a row, sealing the competition for her and her teammate Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.).
Congressman Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) took home the unofficial title, however. He shot 70% from the line - a perfectly respectable percentage for even professional ballplayers - before the last ball, at which point he got to shoot until he missed. He had hit ten more in a row before missing. "This is getting kinda dull," he said, trash-talking the other members of Congress in the middle of his impressive performance.
The other members struggled to put together shooting performances that could rival Huffman's. Most showed up clad in their office clothes - not exactly friendly to athletic competition - and none broke 50% on their first ten shots.
Eight members of Congress participated - here are the results:
8. Congressman Scott Garrett (R-N.J.)
Athletic background: none.
Garrett, as pictured above, took a few tips from Olympian Kara Lawson before taking his shots.
0 for 2
7. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.)
Athletic background: none
Ros-Lehtinen took her cues from one of the greatest free-throw shooters of all time in Rick Barry and shot underhanded. She struggled to find the basket, however, and the voting alarm went off right as she finished up her round. "Saved by the bell," she said, laughing, on her way out of the room. "Next year."
0 for 10
6. Congressman Dave Reichert (D-Wa.)
Athletic background: played football at Concordia Lutheran College. Reichert, the chairman of the caucus, was excited to try his luck.
3 for 10
5. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.)
Athletic background: basketball and volleyball player at Illinois college.
Bustos came to ball. She was the only member of Congress attired in athletic shoes. She seemed disappointed in her 30% shooting performance, though.
3 for 10
4. Congressman Gene Green (D-Tex.)
Athletic background: unknown.
3 for 10
3. Congressman Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.)
Athletic background: unknown
If the members were making a team, Crowley would have played center. His performance at the line was a workmanlike 40%.
4 for 10
2. Congressman John Carney (D-Del.)
Athletic background: Quarterback of his state championship-winning high school football team, All-Ivy League QB at Dartmouth.
The reigning champion, Congressman Carney was all business. A hush came over the room, however, as he finished up his round, and the judges conferred on whether he was on his ninth or tenth attempt. Carney pleaded and received one more shot. On that last shot - the "moneyball," or shoot-until-you-miss shot - he swished it, and went for five more in a row. His unofficial percentage, though, after his first ten shots, was at 40%.
4 for 10.
1. Congressman Jared Huffman (D-Calif.)
Athletic background: Three-time All-American volleyball player at UC-Santa Barbara.
Huffman shot 70% from the line before going on a streak of ten in a row to end his run. Easily took home the title.
7 for 10
The author once went 42/50 from the line in his college free-throw shooting contest, coming in third place. So he knows a bit about free-throw shooting contests.