And then there are times when both rear their ugly heads and create a front-page controversy. This is one of those times.
About two months ago, nine- and 10-year-old members of the Sask-Can 2000 atom hockey team were filmed in their locker room after a game. An assistant coach for the team and a parent gave the kids open cans of Coors Light and had them pose with them, narrating the scene as if it were a bunch of grown men kicking back after a "beer league" game.
Excerpts from the video, which surfaced online recently but has been removed from YouTube, read as follows (via The Canadian Press):
At one point as he asks a boy to say hi to the camera he tells the players they're "going to be on YouTube."Well, the narrative sure creates a polarizing situation. On one hand, it's clearly an attempt at humor so there's a grain of salt to be taken. On the other, you're giving a bunch of young kids beer and encouraging them to drink for the camera. Joke or not, that's a tight line to walk especially when presented in a public light on the Internet.
"OK, take a drink," one of the adults in the room prompts a 10-year-old.
"No," says the boy, who appears uncomfortable.
"Here we are in the locker room, young men just having a beer," narrates the camera operator. "Look at that. Love it ... the boys are enjoying a fine beer after a hard game."
As a result of the incident, the team's assistant coach and a parent who was the team's treasurer have since been suspended by the league.
Lorrie Heggie of Sask-Can hockey called the display a serious case of misjudgment. "I've talked to the guy and I can't for the life of me figure out what he was trying to gain, whether he was just being a silly dad trying to have some goofy fun, or whether he had some purpose to it," said Heggie.
According to the league, the head coach was not present and it was these two behind the video. Like it or not, the league did what it had to given the position it was put in. It had to try and save face in light of such a spectacle -- I mean really, when's the last time Saskatchewan pee-wee hockey made news that attracted this much attention?
Now we can make a joke or shake our heads in disbelief and move on. It should only be a couple of days before another story of irresponsible youth sports parenting makes headlines.