Through Softball, Whiskey Caucus Honors Former Teammate
Posted at 11:31 p.m. on May 21, 2012
(Aaron Guerrero/CQ Roll Call)
On an overcast Monday night, the Whiskey Caucus, a House Softball League team, fell 15-13 to the Three Amigos, a team primarily made up of staffers from the Texas delegation.
But for the Whiskey Caucus, softball isn’t just a game of wins and losses. It’s a way to preserve the memory of a departed teammate.
As Ben Brockschmidt, a staffer in the office of Rep. Timothy Johnson (R-Ill.), told Roll Call that Eric Fatla was a driving force in forming the Whiskey Caucus softball team more than two years ago.
In the early part of 2010, Fatla, a Hill staffer turned George Washington University law student, along with Brockschmidt and others made the collective decision to splinter away from Licensed to IL, another House Softball League team. The decision took the Whisky Caucus from pure social club to scrappy softball team.
Around Christmas time of that year, Fatla returned home to Chicago. During an evening with his father at the Union League Club of Chicago, Fatla fell down a flight of stairs, causing fatal injuries. He was 26.
Fatla was a well-known commodity on the large team. Of the 60 members, roughly 50 knew who he was. To ensure that he was with them in spirit, the team had P.E.F. 87, which stands for Professor Eric Fatla, embroidered on their jerseys.
Besides bringing together teammates from differing professions, the Whiskey Caucus softball team now serves as a bridge between Fatla’s team and his parents. To show their appreciation, Fatla’s parents had a commemorative home-run derby memorial plaque made up for the team. The plaque bares the image of their son.
To honor Fatla’s parents, the team plans to give the couple a custom Whiskey Caucus shirt upon their arrival in the nation’s Capitol this summer.