Judges grasp the victory again!



by Cynthia Price
Legal News

The defeat of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan (WLAM) team by the Judges team at last Saturday’s charity softball game can hardly be seen as
significant in the world of women’s athletics, since there were so many female players on the Judges team.

Women judges accounted for seven of the 18 team members.

The Women Lawyers had hoped to end their losing streak in the annual battle, but  when the dust cleared the score was 4-1 in favor of the Judges.

Everyone went home happy, though, because the goal of both sides is to win money for the YWCA of West Central Michigan.

The teams achieved that goal not only because of attendance at and contributions related to the game. There was also a boneless chicken wing eating contest between champ Chief Assistant Prosecutor Chris Becker (Kent County) and Detective Pete Kemme of the Grand Rapids Police Department, where supporters’ money benefited the Y.

In addition, Susan Ford Bales spoke at the April 27 WLAM Annual Meeting and generously donated her speaker’s fee to the cause. An author and former photojournalist, Bales is the daughter of the late President Gerald R. Ford and former chair of the Betty Ford Center who is well-known as an advocate on women’s issues.

The YWCA’s program ad states, “We believe that achieving economic, social, and political empowerment for all women is linked inextricably to eliminating a racism and achieve an equal, just, and sustainable society.” The Y, located on Sheldon Blvd., provides services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and child sexual abuse, along with empowerment programs for girls.

The YWCA has been the beneficiary of all 29 WLAM charity softball games.

The evening of the game was hot but beautiful, and the $15 admission fee entitled audience members to stay for the West Michigan Whitecaps game as they played, and unfortunately lost to, the South Bend SilverHawks.

Incoming Grand Rapids Bar President T.J. Ackert of Miller Johnson and U.S. Magistrate the Hon. Joseph Scoville, event announcers, kept the zingers coming. The brunt of their humor fell on older judges, predictable remarks about how it must have been when a given judge started practicing “in the 1850s,” as well as on female players accused of not knowing how to play the game. Good sports on both teams actually seemed to enjoy the teasing.

Mika Myers Beckett and Jones’ Nikole Canute chaired the WLAM Softball Game Committee, a role which falls to the Immediate Past President every year.