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The staffs of Sen. Lamar Alexander and Sen. Marsha Blackburn get a group photo after the annual softball game between the staffs recently.

Every year, Tennessee’s two Senate offices face-off against each other in a game of softball on the National Mall in Washington. It’s a tradition that goes back years.

The game was first started by Senators Bill Frist and Fred Thompson, and a bronze spittoon, called the “Crockett Cup,” is the official trophy awarded to the winner. What better person to name a spittoon trophy after than Davy Crockett, who was, of course, a well-known former-congressman from our state.

This year’s Crockett Cup was a special one because it was our state’s newest United States senator, Marsha Blackburn, and her staff’s first year to compete for the title.

Despite a hard-fought game from the Blackburn staff, this year my team was able to win and bring the trophy back to the Alexander office, after losing it to Sen. Bob Corker’s team last year.

Our team’s captain and Tennessean, R.J. Gibson, has told me repeatedly that we have one of the most talented teams in the league, so I wasn’t surprised that we won.

Softball games on the Washington Mall are a big tradition, at least in my family. Years ago, when I was a young Capitol Hill staffer working for Sen. Howard Baker, we were playing our own game on the mall against then-Sen. John Tower from Texas. During the game, I noticed a very cute girl in red shorts sliding into first base — her name was Honey, and eventually, she became my wife.

So, you have to be careful about what happens at these games because you might just stumble across your wife of 50 years.

These games are always a lot of fun, and it was fun to compete against Sen. Blackburn and her staff this week. It really is the only time we’re not on the same team. As I like to say, when it comes to Tennesseans having a voice in the United States Senate, one plus one equals three.

Lamar Alexander is the senior senator from Tennessee.

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