This weekend, CBC radio program This Is That broadcast a report on a Canadian youth soccer association that removed the ball from games to promote better sportsmanship. It was filled with delightful quotes like this one:
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.'"
"We want our children to grow up learning that sport is not about competition, rather it's about using your imagination. If you imagine you're good at soccer, then, you are."
On Monday, it was passed along by Opposing Views and blew up from there. It made the rounds in the blogosphere, and went as far as an article in the Washington Times. The tone was the same everywhere: writers and commenters bemoaning how we've gone too far, with a healthy dash of LOLCanada.
The story was fake, obviously. This Is That is a satirical show that's been on the air for three years, and even if you didn't know that, Google exists.
Maybe it's not fair to chalk it up to sheer laziness. The story spread because it struck a nerve—people are constantly worrying about the perceived shielding of kids from the real world ("the pussification of America," as Barstool headlined the piece about Canadian youth soccer). Youth sports are on the frontlines of the coddling creep, and it's true that some organizations have experimented with not keeping score.
No, it was laziness. Most of the posts about the story didn't even cite or link back to This Is That. Writers didn't even give a shit where their information came from, let alone how trustworthy it was. The Washington Times's editor's note even reads "The following is a story based on satire originally created by OpposingViews.com."