When all was said and done, the party went on as scheduled.
After a week in which the national spotlight fell on the Corbett Middle School football program (Corbett, Ore.) and now ousted coach Randy Burbach, the team and their former leader met up one last time at Hooters, where they planned to hold their end of season awards banquet all along.
The initial reaction to the team's plans to hold the banquet at a Hooters in suburban Portland was one of general shock from parents of the team's players. The parents alerted Corbett School District athletic director J.P. Soulagnet, who demanded that the party be moved. When Burbach refused, Soulagnet fired the volunteer coach.
Hooters jumped in on the act itself as word of Burbach's dismissal began to get national attention. The chain, which is best known for its waitresses' uniforms, said it would put on a $1,000 party for the team on Saturday and would donate 20 percent of the proceeds from the entire day of sales at its Jantzen Beach location to Corbett Middle School sports.
The publicity stunt only seemed to steel Burbach's stance, and the team arrived at their planned destination on Saturday in a limousine, entered between two rows of cheering Hooters waitresses and a phalanx of local and national media, and got their party on.
As Burbach noted throughout the ordeal, he agreed to host the awards dinner at Hooters because that was the restaurant the players chose themselves. He also told USA Today that he faced an almost identical scenario with his own sons when they were 10 and 12 and were invited to team dinners at Hooters. The now-former coach said he and his wife went to a Hooters ahead of time to test the experience and couldn't find anything they felt could justify keeping their sons away.
Other Corbett parents appeared to come to the same conclusion this time, with some going so far as to use the experience to guide how their children look at women.
Here's how Constantine Leontescu, one of the Corbett football parents, recounted his family's discussion about the event to the Oregonian.
"It's unfortunate that it came to this," Leontescu said, witnessing the media cameras hovering around the team. His family was initially surprised at the location, Leontescu said, and decided not to go. But they changed their mind. They had a family talk, he said.
The talk was about how Matei, 14, needs to look at women, how he needs to respect women while in public. Leontescu wasn't concerned Saturday would change his son's life.
"He just wants to be with his teammates mainly and have a good time," he said.
For his part, Burbach was happy with how the event turned out. Even though it had cost him his role leading the school's football program, the career garbage man said his goal for the event had been achieved.
"We've been cast in a negative light by some," Burbach told the Oregonian. "I'll take it. I don't care, but the kids and the community are showing what we're about."
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