Why Super Bowl Sunday is the hardest day of the year for me

30 Jan

Yes, Super Bowl Sunday is the hardest day of the year for me. Don’t get me wrong – I love a good football game. I am excited that the Seahawks are in the the Super Bowl. But every year no matter who is playing in the Super Bowl, I mourn. Why?

Because the Super Bowl reminds me of injustice and pain around the world. Let me explain – a few years ago I spent a month in Cambodia witnessing the darkest form of injustice in our world today – precious little girls being trafficked. I was amazed by the hope and happiness of these little survivors. I held their hands, giggled with them, sang Justin Bieber, danced, played volleyball. It was a beautiful memory clouded by devastating pain. (If you want to read more about my trip: https://laurenolson.wordpress.com/cambodia/)

After that heart wrenching trip I came home to America – the next weekend was the SuperBowl. I couldn’t contain the range of emotions I experienced – mostly hurt, astonishment and anger. The devotion Americans have towards football, when there are millions of children are the world suffering. Super Bowl Sunday reminds me of the girls I met in Cambodia. Super Bowl Sunday reminds me that right now a little child is crying out. Super Bowl Sunday reminds me of the number of trafficked people in our world today. I don’t get the luxury of enjoying the game. I just don’t have that “luxury”.

We spend endless amounts of time, energy, money, emotion, tears, fill-in-the-blank on NFL football, the SuperBowl and silly little things. I can’t even imagine how different our world would look if we put all that 12th man energy, time and money towards children around the world or in our own backyard.

Hear me out. Please. I pray my words are heard out of love. I struggle with this – figuring this all out – my emotions, my words, my role, my heart. I am not angry at the Seahawks. I am not angry at those who watch NFL games or go all out as fans. I am mourning the children I will never forget. I am evaluating about the amount of _____ I put into the SuperBowl, into the Seahawks, into silly little things. Constantly, I am reminding and challenging myself to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God // Micah 6:8.

I cling to the glorious truth that our God is a God of healing, beauty, love, justice – which is something I can’t fully comprehend or appreciate.

Psalm 9:16-18 // The Lord is known by his justice… the needy will not be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish.
Psalm 10:17-18 // You hear, Oh Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed
Psalm 13:2, 5 // How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? But I trust in your unfailing love

He makes all things new: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cysTVzoajM4

DID YOU KNOW: “The Super Bowl is the greatest show on Earth, but it also has an ugly underbelly….. It’s commonly known as the single largest human trafficking incident in the United States.” YES THE SUPERBOWL and sex trafficking go hand in hand unfortunately. Yes this happens in BELLINGHAM every day, every year.

An article just for kicks – you gotta click the link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/03/super-bowl-sex-trafficking_n_2607871.html

In our own community – Hope4Justice from Bellingham shared: “The annual “Super Bowl” game is among the most-watched sports events in the world and draws tens of thousands of people to its host city.   “High-profile special events, which draw large crowds, have become lucrative opportunities for child prostitution criminal enterprises,” said Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. Fox news.com (Feb2, 2014), reported the FBI had identified northern New Jersey and Atlantic City as hotspots for sex trafficking during the 2014 Super Bowl where sixteen teenagers ranging in age from 13 to 17 were recovered by law enforcement in a crackdown on child trafficking surrounding the Super Bowl weekend. The FBI said the teens included high school students and young people reported missing by their families. Michael Osborne of the FBI’s Violent Crimes Against Children Unit told ABC News. “Most prostitutes are not walking the streets anymore, but rather their services are offered on internet sites by their pimps and “facilitators ” moving girls around from state to state to find a large gathering of potential customers.  On Sunday 1/25, Backpage.com > Phoenix (home of the 2014 Super Bowl) posted over 200 adult entertainment escort ads.  However Backpage.com >Seattle also posted over 200 ads for this day, along with Backpage>Bellingham posting over 16. Ambassador Luis Cdebaca is head of the anti-human trafficking office and President Obama’s senior adviser on issues that relate to human trafficking. Cdebaca said human trafficking, whether for labor or the sex trade, is often linked in proximity to the Super Bowl but is an issue that persists independently of the big game. “Human trafficking was happening before the Super Bowl was announced, and human trafficking will unfortunately be happening after the Super Bowl is over,” Cdebaca said. “We have to be vigilant to recognize the victims of modern slavery.” “Whether it’s men, women, girls, boys trapped in prostitution, whether it’s folks in strip clubs (or) folks in the sex industry, (they) need to be looked at to see (if) they need help,” Cdebaca said. Reducing demand is a critical aspect of mitigating the human trafficking trade, “Men need to take a stand against this type of exploitation,” he said. “That’s really what we’re going to be talking about: Issuing a challenge as it were to men that they need to stand up and they need to deal with this.”

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