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Archive for January, 2014

I was “inspired” yesterday to do a little research.  The Super Bowl is coming up this Sunday.  The Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos will rekindle their old AFC West rivalry.  My hope is that the game will be a repeat of the last time these two teams met in the post-season (a 31 – 7 Seattle win!).

..but I digress…

Yes, I was “inspired” to do a little research.  We’ve heard it every year in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl.  It is the day with the highest number of domestic violence incidents of the year.  Thousands of women get beaten by their drunk spouses or boyfriends.  It is also the “highest human trafficking incident in the United States”.  Tens of thousands of women, as many as 100,000, get shipped to the Super Bowl host city to work the streets, limos and hotels.

Congressman are now sponsoring legislation.  Websites like Upworthy are posting videos.  Bloggers are taking to social media and swearing they will not watch the Super Bowl.

There’s even a new graphic going around:

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There’s one problem…

None of it is true.  That’s right; year after year after year, research and statistics have shown that neither one of these is true.  If you don’t want to believe me, then read Rachel Lloyd’s most recent post over at Huff Po (Click —>HERE<—).  Lloyd is the founder of GEMS – Girls Educational and Mentoring Services.  You can also read a 75 page report from the Global Alliance Against the Trafficking of Women (Click —>HERE<—). Both groups will tell you that the Super Bowl myth is essentially an outright lie.

So why are so many organizations, church groups, politicians and people perpetuating this lie?  Here are a few, in my opinion, depressing reasons (courtesy of the GAATW):

  • Its usefulness as a fundraising strategy – people give money to splashy sound bites;
  • Its effectiveness in grabbing the media and the public’s attention – which of course, comes back to increased fundraising;
  • Being a quick, easy way to be seen ‘doing something’ about trafficking – you get to beat your chest, put up a graphic, say “I’m not going to watch the Super Bowl!” and think you did something good;
  • Being a more socially acceptable guise for prostitution abolitionist agendas and anti-immigration agendas.

Now don’t get me wrong.  As the father of two girls, one of whom is more vulnerable than most, sex trafficking is one of my greatest fears.  But what pisses me off even more than the scumbags who take advantage of someone’s baby girl are the people who will prey on my fears with false statistics and outright lies in an attempt to scare me into donating money.  That way of spreading awareness may work in the short-term, but in the long run you simply end up with folks who will not believe anything you say, because your platform is built on a lie…and what does that do for future victims of the sex trade? Nothing.  In fact, probably worse than nothing because those of us who cared will have stopped listening.

I am left to believe that those inspired bloggers and organizations that push the above graphic are ultimately in it just for the attention and the dollars that will flow their way from those of us who get caught up in the hyperbole – it’s that or they are too lazy to actually do some research.  In either case, do you really want to trust your donations to groups like that?  If you truly want to help, contact GEMS or the GAATW to see what you can do.

And the next time you see a “statistic” like the above graphic, take the time to do a little research before passing it on.

And if you don’t want to watch the Super Bowl, then don’t watch it, but stop trying so hard to come up with a reason.  If you don’t like football, then it is totally socially acceptable not to watch the Super Bowl.

Oh, and no, the Super Bowl won’t kill you…it was just a headline to get your attention.

 

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Dear Jeremy,

Thank you.  Thank you for being who you are.  Thank you for doing what you did.  Partying, drinking and taking drugs with your son is one thing, but this took it to a whole new level.  Blocking off a residential street so your drunk son could drag race in a high performance car?  Brilliant!  So soon after we lost Paul Walker in a fiery car accident?  Genius!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  And what’s the harm, right?  No one got hurt.  No one died…yet.

Because of you, the rest of us dads, those of us who struggle every day, wondering if we are doing a decent job by our kids, can look at each other and nod.  We can take heart, knowing that we are trying to be parents, not friends, to our kids.  We can find comfort in knowing, “at least we’re not that guy.”

So thank you, Jeremy.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

Luau

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So by now anybody who watched the NFC Championship game, or didn’t for that matter, has heard of or seen the post-game interview of Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman by Erin Andrews and has decided that he is now the reason they are rooting for the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl in two weeks.

Here it is:

Now, before you judge, I want you to look at this picture:

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Qualifying for Boston by the skin of my teeth…

That’s me, a few years ago, barely qualifying for the Boston Marathon.  It came at the end of a long journey, littered with many failed attempts.  As fuzzy as the picture is, you can see the emotion on my face, in my body…I’m sure you can almost hear the primal scream I gave as I crossed the finish line.  I had just punched my ticket to the big dance, to what is, for many recreational runners like me, the Super Bowl.

My recap of the race, was, if I may say so myself, not so badly written.  If you want to relive history, you can find it —>HERE<—.  But my skills as a writer are not my point.  If someone had put a mic in my face right after crossing the line, I would have been hooting and hollering and would have been as non-“Crash Davis”-like as you can imagine.  If, for whatever reason, someone had challenged my ability as a runner before the race, called me out if you will, and then, had the fates been so kind as to let me beat that someone by mere seconds as I crossed the finish to qualify for Boston and they crossed the line just missing their own qualifying time, I might have been moved to say something along the lines of what Richard Sherman said.  Emotion is a powerful thing.

I know the analogy stinks.  I know it barely works.  But Richard Sherman had just finished a game where players throw themselves at each other at incredible velocities over and over and over again.  If you watched the first video, then you need to watch this one too – it is all about TEAM.

Click on the image

Click on the image – Hmmm…I wonder why no one is playing this interview over and over again?

How many on-field post-game interviews have you watched?  How many do you remember?  Take it for what it is – an interview on the field after a bunch of guys just played a game.  This is not international politics; it’s not a meeting of the Board of Education; it’s a Post. Game. Interview.  And it was entertaining.

If you’re going to root for Denver because you are a Broncos fan? Fine.  If you are going to root for Denver because you are an Indy or Peyton fan? Fine.  If you are going to root for Denver because, well, you really don’t care and you flipped a coin?  Fine.  But if you are going to root for Denver because you think this Stanford grad with a degree in Communications is a thug?  Hmmm.  Maybe walk in his shoes for a couple of days and ask yourself how you might react (especially you dramatic types…you know who you are!).  Someone online even suggested, based on the complete lack of profanity on Sherman’s part, that perhaps he was simply playing to the camera a la Professional Wrestling.  Who knows?

The bottom line is there are 31 other teams that would love to have Sherman and his Legion of Boom in their defensive backfield, including yours.

GO SEAHAWKS!

***Disclaimer: this is not an unbiased post.  As much of a New England Patriots fan as I have been for the last 10 years since moving here, I am, at heart, a Seattle sports fan and have rooted for the Seahawks, Sonics, Mariners and Sounders since 1977.

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Life Out of Focus 001

Parenting can be tough…any kind of parenting.  We worry about their safety, their development, their…well, everything.  When I look at Katie I worry, but I know that it’s the same worry that every loving mom or dad feels for their kiddo.

But for those of us with special needs kids, sometimes some moments can be especially hard.  The other day while walking Brooke to school, we fell in behind a couple of girls in her grade.  They were chatting away about this and that.  One turned to ask why I was wearing shorts while it was snowing and so cold.  I laughed.  Meanwhile Brooke was running through a few of her morning scripts.  The girls went back to their conversation and Brooke continued with he scripts.

That’s when it really hit me (for like the millionth time) just how big the gap between Brooke and her classmates is and, even harder to take, the fact that there was no exchange whatsoever between these two girls and my daughter…not a “hey”, not a “hi”, not even a nod of acknowledgement.  One of the girls had had a few play dates with Brooke over the years, and is one of the nicer, sweeter kids in her grade, but on that day there was nothing.  It wasn’t intentional or mean-spirited; it wasn’t an active blindness, but it was a blindness nonetheless.  It was as if she and her friend didn’t see Brooke at all.

Brooke herself didn’t seem to notice or care; she simply pushed on with her morning scripts.  I, on the other hand, was devastated.

With Middle School looming not so far away, and then High School and beyond, I am having a harder and harder time imagining what Brooke’s adult life will be like.  I used to be able to see it.  It was as clear as HD TV in my mind; but with each passing year, month, week, day…the picture loses a little focus and what I see in my mind becomes a little more foggy, a little more murky, a little more unclear.

I did find some hope this past weekend.  I was lucky enough to be invited to a dinner of young autistic adults.  Some were more talkative than others.  I chatted with several people on varying topics.  Most importantly though, Brooke seemed comfortable with the people there.  They all acknowledged her presence – they all saw her (and she saw them).

So as cloudy and as murky as my images of the future may be, it is comforting to know that out there in the real world are autistic people who support each other, cheer for each other, but most importantly, see each other.  As long as I know that Brooke will have that when she grows up, I can live with the picture in my head being a bit out of focus.

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