The Superbowl's Dirty Secret
This weekend, for those of you who, like my wife, could care less about major sporting events like the Superbowl is this weekend, please stay tuned. Personally, I am something off a retired sports fanatic. I grew up watching football in the early 90s, which was a fantastic time for Cowboys fans. Names like Emmit Smith, Troy Aikman, Jay Novacheck, Darryl Johnston, Michael Irving, and 'Neon' Deion Sanders, still take me back to Sunday mornings. Each week I would try to catch as much of the FOX NFL pregame show as possible before my mom finally drug me out the door for church. While my passion for televised sports has waned significantly, and I don't yell at TV's like I used to, whenever I watch the big game I still feel the same inward tension building in me like it did when I watching Troy Aikman no huddle the Cowboys 98 yards down the field in just over two minutes.
In the past three years, however, the nostalgia has been tainted. While driving home last year from watching the game with friends, I felt disgusted with myself, I wanted to vomit up the pizza and laughter I had just filled myself with, not because of what was on TV but because of what wasn't.
While football may bring me wonderful childhood memories, the reality is that for some children, Superbowl is a word of terror. It us under debate whether or not major sporting events like the Superbowl are big money for the child sex slave trade. But Last year on Superbowl Sunday a group from Ohio called SOAP rescued three teenage girls when hotel employees recognized them in photos. In 2011, 61 women called the phone number placed on soap in hotels all over Dallas, Texas, the home of my beloved Cowboys. Another man was arrested in Tampa in 2009 for offering two girls, 14 and 18, as a "Superbowl Special" for $300. While it seems that numbers around the event have been inflated at times, the reality of the trade is still there, alive and active, and this is a great time to raise awareness.
If you are near New Orleans this year, or close to any Superbowl in the future, I recommend you look into helping SOAP as a volunteer, you just might save whatever innocence a child might have left.
Wherever you are, as you enjoy the game this year, I hope you can also immerse yourself into the tension, maybe turn off the TV for a bit during half time and pray for those who might be hearing the game under less pleasant circumstance. Sure, it may taint your viewing experience a bit like it has mine, but we are meant to be so much more than simply entertained.