House Defeats Senate in Annual Louisiana Legislature Charity Game
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
June 9, 2011
For one evening in Baton Rouge each summer, members of the Louisiana State Legislature get to experience some of what its like to be a New Orleans Hornets player. During their annual charity game on LSUs campus, legislators wear Creole blue, purple and gold jerseys, similar to what the Hornets sport during the NBA season. As they run up and down the hardwood at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, members of Louisianas House and Senate are also enthusiastically cheered on by the Honeybees dance team.
In terms of the basketball being played on the PMAC court, however, thats where the similarities come to a screeching and often comical halt. In the 2011 version of the HoopLA Out of Bounds Bash, the House overpowered the Senate by a final tally of 58-30. Of greater importance, there appeared to be no injuries to any of the participants, other than a staggering number of floor burns.
The House claimed victory over its rivals, but more importantly, the proceeds from the annual event went to the Legislators Non-Profit Charity Fund. The fund is designed to enhance the lives of Louisiana residents through charitable works, including supporting physical fitness. One basketball court in the state is also refurbished each year as a result of the charity game. During the game, there is an ongoing auction, which includes numerous autographed items from Hornets players.
I give the legislators a lot of credit, because they actually get together, work out and practice, in order to get ready for this game, said Steve Martin, the Hornets senior vice president of community investment. I give them credit for playing the game, because theyre really playing for a great cause more than anything else. Its competitive, but at the end of the day, the game is about raising money.
Martin, who played college basketball at Georgetown in the 1970s and has been ranked among that programs top 100 players of all time, has helped spearhead the Hornets participation in the charity game annually since Hurricane Katrina. He enjoys watching the legislators give their all on the basketball court, but not before issuing a few words of caution.
The only thing I tell them before the game is dont get hurt during the game, Martin said, smiling. Hopefully they know their bodies. The key is for them to come out and have a little fun.
Each year, the winning team is also presented with a large trophy, which is sometimes displayed prominently in the legislative chambers for the losing side to see on a regular basis.
They get a trophy, but most importantly, they get bragging rights, Martin said, again grinning. Big-time bragging rights. This is a game of pride. The losing team will hear about this until the next legislative session. But the big thing is generating funds to help refurbish basketball courts. Theyve turned this event into a major fundraiser.
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