Despite days of national headlines, the Corbett Middle School football team is moving ahead with plans to hold its awards dinner at an Oregon Hooters on Saturday. And their coach, who was criticized by the school district, has refused to back down from the location choice.
But scrutiny from outsiders over the party at a restaurant known for its scantily clad waitresses — and criticized for objectifying women — has the rural town of 4,000 people about 20 miles east of Portland, Ore., embarrassed and peeved.
“You hear my laughter? It’s all I can do at this point,” said Michelle Rolens, whose 12-year-old son plays on the team. “We have such bigger fish to fry.”
Like the school construction bond measure that failed in Tuesday’s election, she said.
Some parents are boycotting the celebration.
“The general mood is just that that’s probably not quite the right event for a school athletic team … be it high school or middle school,” said Eric Stevens, former president of the Corbett Booster Club.
“It’s a complete embarrassment to the community,” said Liz Conners, a member of the Corbett Youth Football Board, adding that she would allow her son on the high school football team to attend an event at Hooters. “The fact that it’s all over the Internet, Fox News, it’s on the radio. Clearly, it’s not about the kids anymore.”
The tiny town near the picturesque Columbia River Gorge became the focus of jokes on the Internet and on news outlets across the nation at the thought of adolescent boys partying at a restaurant known for buxom women.
Yet many parents don’t see the event that way. They simply want to be with their children at a cherished American ritual: the end-of season sports party for a team with a 6-2 record, the best in recent memory.