Sports

It’s a Fight

Maybe we come to the point where we don’t have the fight in us to make it through one more act. What we don’t realize is this crucial truth of life: It IS a fight. Anything worth living for is worth fighting for, and will take fighting for.

 

Photo Credit: File:Arash-Hashemi-boxer-the-final-round-next-day-paint-and-body …

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When We Stand Silent

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Victory on the field is fleeting. Each year, there will be a new winner and a new loser. But there is NEVER a winner when we stand silent while the next generation stands in chains.

 

Photo Credit: Stadium – Free images on Pixabay

Behind the Super Bowl Scenes

Blog_SuperBowlTraffickingAs the masses prepare sports-holiday feasts and prep the media shrine for gridiron glory this Super Bowl Sunday, it seems the only newsworthy events of the weekend will be the final score, the halftime show, and the genius commercials in between. Unfortunately, there’s another side of the Super Bowl that rarely makes headlines. While multitudes gorge themselves on pizza and hot wings, guzzle beer by the gallon, and allow the highs and lows of the game to govern their emotional well-being, there are slaves waiting fearfully in the wings, knowing that at the close of the show they will be devoured as some sports-themed commodity.

We may think Sunday’s event is all about two teams battling for hard-earned victory. The fact is, many of our sports “heroes” will participate in what has been called “the single largest human trafficking incident in the United States.” Those fans in the stands? Some are there for the sheer enjoyment of the game. But too many have other plans for post-game “entertainment” that involves the degrading of innocent human beings. Blog_HumanTraffickingStats

Does the thought make you shudder? Or would we rather don our sports gear, snuggle under a cozy blanket, and pretend our favorite pastime is not a nightmare to thousands of teens abducted and trafficked each year?

Yes, it is a fact. The Super Bowl is an insidious magnet for the trafficking industry—an industry that notoriously victimizes hundreds of thousands of our precious children.

How is it that we boycott everything that infringes on our own comforts and preferences yet turn a blind eye when the rights of our nations youth are squandered in the name of athletic triumph? Victory on the field is fleeting. Each year, there will be a new winner and a new loser. But there is NEVER a winner when we stand silent while the next generation stands in chains. Blog_SuperBowlTrafficking01

I couldn’t care less who wins this Sunday. What I do care about is the fact that children are enslaved to the evil desires of men while our justice system stands strangely silent on their behalf. As long as the Super Bowl remains the primary draw for human trafficking rings, there are NO victors on the field or off.

Until we do all that it takes to put an end to this tragedy, we aren’t doing enough.

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Sports, Love, and a Little Thing Called Jealousy

I have to admit I sometimes get jealous of sports. It starts somewhere around the first pre-season kick-off—that tinge of dread in knowing it will be awhile before I have my husband’s full attention again. Our drive-time dialogue will be punctuated with emotion, yes. But shouts of “touchdown!” and laments of “interception” don’t always make for the conversation I crave. And just when I think it’s over come that Super Bowl holiday, I realize. It’s still a good few months until the NBA playoffs. And by then, baseball season is well underway.

Yes, my jealousy of sports may be ill founded. After all, my husband married me, not a football. Though each sport lasts but a season, I’ll be there for every season. And while there are times we go out for that much-anticipated romantic date and he’s staring at the sports screen behind me instead of looking into my eyes, I’ll be the one he goes home with at night. But the whole thing got me thinking—is there ever a time when it’s okay to be jealous?

The Bible speaks of an unhealthy jealousy—a kind that’s covetous, controlling, or possessive. Covetousness springs from discontent and ingratitude—wanting what others have for our own. Control stems from insecurity or egotism—wanting full reign over another’s life. Possessiveness derives from greed—wanting to own what was not ours to begin with. All three characteristics are rooted in selfishness. And love will never thrive in a selfish environment.

Love is not selfish, and therefore love is not ruled by unhealthy jealousy. That’s why the Bible says love is not jealous. It also says that God is love. Yet there are a few verses that mention he’s a jealous God. How can this be possible without being contradictory? When I read about God’s love for his people, it’s clear he’s not covetous, controlling, or possessive. But maybe there’s a different kind of jealousy—a kind that’s unselfish. A kind that’s protective.

In relationships, unhealthy, selfish jealousy can destroy. But healthy, selfless jealousy can serve to protect. My jealousy of sports is mostly quirky, though partly selfish in wanting my husband’s undivided attention. Yet it would be strange if I weren’t protective of our relationship when it came to something that could actually hurt or come between us.

It’s the same with God’s love. I believe it’s described as a jealous love because he wants to protect us from anything that can hurt us or thwart our greater purpose in life. Our loving creator desires our attention and affections, because in him we find that purpose. He’s protectively jealous when it comes to those habits and addictions in our lives that have the potential to destroy us, our calling, and our relationships.

Love is selfless. And love always protects. That’s why, sometimes, love is jealous—not in the unhealthy sense of the word, but in a life-giving, sheltering way that serves to reconcile and restore.

Source: Sports, Love, and a Little Thing Called Jealousy

Victory and its Victims

Blog_HockeyDie-hard fans braved threatening weather to witness the Blackhawks face-off for another championship. Even those who care nothing for hockey were converted to temporary fandom in time for the finals. Following the victory, multitudes swarmed the streets of Chicago for one glimpse of the winning team with their coveted cup. And I could only think of one thing.

There are young girls, even boys, being trafficked in celebration of one short-lived victory.

Ever since I found out that sporting events are among the largest magnets for human trafficking rings, I can’t glimpse a fragment of a game without mourning the countless victims waiting in the wings for the after-game festivities. How can we revel in the fantasy of athletic glory when so many are living a nightmare as a result? How can we root for any team if no one is rising to fight for the slaves suffering among us?

It’s beyond tragedy that we keep silent as an estimated 9.5 billion per year flows from our country into the torture of young innocents. As our sports heroes bathe in fame, fortune, and glory, our children are led as sheep to the slaughter. We invest millions in sports mania, blind to the billions squandered on the trafficking of our future. Will we continue to stand on the sidelines, watching in silence?

Victory in the Field of Broken Dreams

Sports Stadium from Google ImagesIt’s fascinating to watch the most stoic of sports fans erupt in various displays of emotion over their favorite team’s plays. Forget the game—I’d rather grab some popcorn and watch that typically passive guy become a drama king when the ref makes a bad call. The spectacle is far greater than the most exciting of sports competitions. And when the team wins? You’d think nothing could surpass the exhibition of sheer elation. And that’s for the pre-season games. Just wait until the play-offs.

So, the underdog team overcomes the odds and wins the big game. What next? There will always be another game, another season, another chance to win or lose. And believe me, emotions will be spent on those wins and losses.

What about the daily game of life? Emotions aren’t so readily displayed for the wins and losses encountered on a daily basis. If we’re honest about the latest news headlines, we see a lot of defeat. It can get pretty discouraging. Super Bowls come and go with different teams taking the ring, but still there’s news of unprecedented human trafficking centered around the event. The Final Four makes another round, yet would-be fans refuse to travel certain states due to bias and fear. Another team will take the NBA Championship this year, and still nothing can dispel the wars and rumors of war around the world.

I was around for the Chicago Bulls three-peat and four-peat and so on, yet in the years to pass witnessed different teams come and go. In sports, no victory is lasting. In life, the forecast seems increasingly grim. The world is a field of broken dreams.

What has the power to overcome the evil, fear, and hatred in this world? Martin Luther King Jr. once so eloquently stated, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Love alone has the last word, the final victory. As we celebrate Good Friday, we think of the words of the man who died on the cross for the sins of the world: “Father, forgive them—for they know not what they do.” Words of forgiveness. Words of healing. Words of love.

Words of victory.

Yes, this world is filled with unimaginable suffering. Most often, this suffering stems from the hardened hearts of men unwilling or unable to love. Yet in the midst of such suffering, consider these words of Helen Keller, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.” And what is the one, lasting victory in this world of hate? LOVE.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

True Love…OVERCOMES (Day 50, #50ShadesOfTrueLove)

Sports, Love, and a Little Thing Called Jealousy

Sports Fan from Bing Images I have to admit I sometimes get jealous of sports. It starts somewhere around the first pre-season kick-off—that tinge of dread in knowing it will be awhile before I have my husband’s full attention again. Our drive-time dialogue will be punctuated with emotion, yes. But shouts of “touchdown!” and laments of “interception” don’t always make for the conversation I crave. And just when I think it’s over come that Super Bowl holiday, I realize. It’s still a good few months until the NBA playoffs. And by then, baseball season is well underway.

Yes, my jealousy of sports may be ill founded. After all, my husband married me, not a football. Though each sport lasts but a season, I’ll be there for every season. And while there are times we go out for that much-anticipated romantic date and he’s staring at the sports screen behind me instead of looking into my eyes, I’ll be the one he goes home with at night. But the whole thing got me thinking—is there ever a time when it’s okay to be jealous?

The Bible speaks of an unhealthy jealousy—a kind that’s covetous, controlling, or possessive. Covetousness springs from discontent and ingratitude—wanting what others have for our own. Control stems from insecurity or egotism—wanting full reign over another’s life. Possessiveness derives from greed—wanting to own what was not ours to begin with. All three characteristics are rooted in selfishness. And love will never thrive in a selfish environment.

Love is not selfish, and therefore love is not ruled by unhealthy jealousy. That’s why the Bible says love is not jealous. It also says that God is love. Yet there are a few verses that mention he’s a jealous God. How can this be possible without being contradictory? When I read about God’s love for his people, it’s clear he’s not covetous, controlling, or possessive. But maybe there’s a different kind of jealousy—a kind that’s unselfish. A kind that’s protective.

In relationships, unhealthy, selfish jealousy can destroy. But healthy, selfless jealousy can serve to protect. My jealousy of sports is mostly quirky, though partly selfish in wanting my husband’s undivided attention. Yet it would be strange if I weren’t protective of our relationship when it came to something that could actually hurt or come between us.

It’s the same with God’s love. I believe it’s described as a jealous love because he wants to protect us from anything that can hurt us or thwart our greater purpose in life. Our loving creator desires our attention and affections, because in him we find that purpose. He’s protectively jealous when it comes to those habits and addictions in our lives that have the potential to destroy us, our calling, and our relationships.

Love is selfless. And love always protects. That’s why, sometimes, love is jealous—not in the unhealthy sense of the word, but in a life-giving, sheltering way that serves to reconcile and restore.
 
True Love…PROTECTS (Day 37, #50ShadesOfTrueLove)