One of the greatest successes of The Onion parody newspaper and website is that every time you hear or see a news story that you can't believe, you just assume its from the pages of The Onion. Alas, today's source material is not made up--but is based on an actual report from the Canadian Broadcasting Company.
In an effort to ensure that no one "wins" or "loses", a youth soccer league in Ontario is no longer playing with actual balls on the field. (Be sure to listen to the full report--you will laugh until you cry) According to Association spokesperson, Helen Dabney-Coyle, "By
removing the ball, it's absolutely impossible to say 'this team won' and
'this team lost' or 'this child is better at soccer than that child.'"
In case you are wondering, every child is asked to "imagine" what the ball is doing on the field and "pretend" that they have kicked it, or blocked it or scored a goal. The coach then has to ask the kids if the ball went into the net or if the goalie "imagined" he saved it.
As you might assume, the parents of far-less-talented players love the set up--as there is no actual way to measure performance on the field anymore! As one mother in the report says "If he says he scored 8 goals, who am I to say he didn't?"
The coaches involved try to put their best face forward when addressing the ludicrousness of this league. One quoted in the report refers to himself as an "Imagination Captain" rather than a coach, and wistfully yearns for the days when the kids actually used a ball.
Like nationalized health care, this is an idea that will likely filter south across the border and be adopted by some US youth sports associations as well. That means another generation of young adults who have never been asked to actually accomplish something--and who will have no coping skills to deal with setback, defeat or disappointment. Maybe, they can "imagine" they got that job right out of college, and they can go down to the bank and "pretend" to cash checks every couple of weeks. Who are we to say they didn't get that job?
Oh, and good news for those of us so desperate to see Team USA win another Olympic Hockey Gold Medal--the sports association is going to "puckless" hockey as well. "DO YOU BELIEVE IN IMAGINARY MIRACLES?"