Dallas Sex Clubs: Will Demand Outstrip Supply?

According to Fox Sports News, in anticipation of 300,000 revelers in Dallas on Superbowl weekend, gentleman’s clubs in the area are facing a serious shortage of strippers. 

I’m outraged. Didn’t we learn our lesson from watching Johannesburg struggle to import enough prostitutes for the World Cup? That fiasco almost resulted in millions of lost revenue if it weren’t for the quick thinking of entrepreneurial madams across Africa. 

It’s been a tough week for Americans. On Monday I learned that China was beating us in math and science; now we learn that Texas gentlemen are getting shamed by third world pimps. The Lone Star State’s lack of business savvy is giving our country another black eye. 

The club owners should study carefully the response of the Red Cross last summer who, when faced with a blood shortage, took out a full page in the Washington Post begging for critical donations. The recruitment for new donors allowed some doctors to continue with surgeries that might have been postponed if not for the generosity of the public. In other shortfalls, aid organizations like World Vision are working against food shortages throughout the world. One organizer states, “People are still sharing the little food they were able to harvest last season. But this coping mechanism won’t last.” 

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The injustice of it all

In the week before Armando Galarraga’s stolen glory early last month, I was finishing my spring reading of one the most important books a Christ-following athlete and sports fan can read, Shirl James Hoffman’s Good Game.

Hoffman asks all kinds of excellent questions and challenges the way the church in America has increasingly put its stamp of approval on every venture of sports without thinking critically about how, say, ultimate fighting carves into a spectator’s soul, not to mention what it does to the God-designed brain of the participants.

One of those key questions is this: Do sports really provide opportunities for learning that other endeavors do not?

For instance, we often say that the practice of sports trains an athlete in dedication and perseverance. Such a statement is intended to “automatically” condone the purpose of sports over and above other ventures. But what is a pianist learning through hours of committed practice? Might it be dedication and perseverance? And might it come without the risk of injuries that can alter a person’s quality of life for years to come?

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My Conversion Story

It dawned on me the other day that I haven’t really shared my conversion story.  In the circles I run in, it’s a pretty common question to ask - everyone has one, but everyone is different.  Mine is a pretty standard story - some seeds were planted when I was young, a variety of people and experiences broadened by awareness along the way, and eventually understanding dawned on me and I considered myself a believer.  After the conversion, I sought out others with like mind in order to bolster my own understanding, and began to equip myself with the proper conversations in order to convert others to my way of understanding.  I share the story of my own conversion here, in the hopes that others may also be inspired to see the light.

As a child, my parents made a point of broadening my horizons and encouraging me to try new things.  I was a pretty shy kid, but at some point my parents decided to take me to a weekend activity popular with many families in the area - AYSO soccer. Next thing I knew, I was signed up in the league and practicing a couple times a week for our Saturday morning games.  I was hesitant at first, but eventually came to enjoy playing soccer with my friends.  After a couple years of playing, I even gained a decent understanding of the game.  After a while though, other distractions entered my life and my love affair with soccer - tentative at best - slowly dwindled.  

Celebrating and Not Celebrating Team USA's World Cup Performance (or Africa and the World Cup)

The Land Cruiser lurched uncomfortably from side to side as we lumbered down the badly rutted dirt road. It was an ordinary June night in Arusha, Tanzania, except for one thing--the World Cup.  The biggest sporting event in the world was going on and people all over our city were gathered in pubs and restaurants, clubs and living rooms to watch the games, hosted for the first time on this very continent.  

What caught my eye as we bounced along was the tiny roadside snack shop with the plastic chairs set out on the dirt in front, semi-circled around a small television that flickered the event into the dark, cold (it's winter here) night.  Eager faces, lit by the screen, followed every move with passionate attention to detail.

The World Cup is a big deal.  And it means a lot to Africa.  Everyone from Desmond Tutu to Nelson Mandela and Emmanuel Adebayor has commented on how much football, and this tournament in particular, inspires young Africans.  It's huge.  

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It's not 'all good' on the World Cup front

Wayne Rooney is Catholic.

I know, I know, it was Rooney for whom Spanish-speaking World Cup referees prepared by memorizing a list of English obscenities, so the English striker couldn’t lay in to them as he had other field officials during the run-ups.

So maybe Rooney isn’t a very good Catholic.

But he did show up to a training session with his crucifix and rosary some days ago, and those other World Cup officials—the kind who enforce every rule that has nothing to do with, say, teams having marvelous goals taken away without explanation—stepped in. Uh-uh, no religion allowed.

All this may leave World Cup officials in more than a fix a few weeks down the line here. That is, if the seeds play out and Brazil wins the Cup. Because, well, the Brazilians these days are praying, preaching athletes. They want you to know that they belong to Jesus. At least that’s what the shirt midfielder Kaka has been known to wear under his jersey says. How do we know this? Because the man that FIFA’s own site describes as “firmly established as one of the finest players in the world” does what most soccer stars do after a match—he takes off his jersey. But instead of his showing his chiseled musculature or his tatted skin, Kaka uses this moisture-wicking billboard to announce his beliefs. His religious beliefs.

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World Changers

And so it has begun.

I am actually a huge World Cup fan, so if you’re looking for some good ol’ fashioned soccer trashing, you’ll have to go somewhere else. Not too many days ago, I heard a sports talk radio guy say that he didn’t like any sport where you have to “understand the intricacies” in order to appreciate it.

Heaven forbid we’ve got to think about our sports! After all, they’re supposed to be stress-relievers. (Dare you to make that argument to a soccer mom who’s on her ninth practice of the week, by the way!)

The fact is the good folks at FIFA and ESPN would like you to believe that sports—and especially the World Cup—go far beyond a little bit of stress relief. Soccer/football (a nod to those who know what the game is really called), they say, is capable of changing the world itself. The Cup will unite us and inspire us and cause all aspects of life to appear rosier in most every way. If I sound like I’m exaggerating, note that I am simply echoing what the TV and radio ads have been telling me for several weeks.

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The World Cup at Night

ESPN has a done an impressive job of heightening the concerns of human trafficking centered around the current World Cup games in S. Africa. This series of videos (there are 3) they have released are worthy of view. Please check them out and learn about the after hours when the games end for the day. It's unbelievable what is taking place there.

Check out the videos here.

Soccer, Sex and You

"Instead of waiting until crisis problems develop which result in panic praying for others, we need to trust God to protect them as we pray Spirit-led, thoughtful, caring prayers before the problems overwhelm them, and they are unable to cope. We need to engage in major battles, not just minor skirmishes, moving from surface praying to in-depth praying. We need to pray both defensively and offensively."  -Dr. Will Bruce

South Africa is currently preparing for what will no doubt be an exciting time in the life of soccer players and fans worldwide. The FIFA 2010 World Cup taking place in South Africa this summer is creating a number of jobs for locals as they prepare to host the thousands of tourists who be arriving.
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Why I am not a US soccer fan

I married a futbol fanatic.  I knew this was part of the deal 4 years ago when I took my vows.  My husband, a loyal Manchester United fan for over a decade, has another love and always will.  As long as I never root for Arsenal or Chelsea (other clubs in England) we will live a long happy life.  It is completely normal in our house for Nate to wake up at 5:00a.m. to watch a game live, so ordering our vacation in the Sierra Nevadas this week around the Confederations Cup in South Africa seemed perfectly logical.  We sat in our room watching the US shut out Egypt and then the miracle that my husband compared to the 1980 US hockey team win over the former Soviet Union (which I quickly shot down) – USA defeating Spain.  And it wasn’t just a win – it was a beautiful, masterful performance that left the #1 team in the world flustered and shocked, as it did most everyone else who knows anything about futbol. No one thought this was possible. Not even the announcers who days earlier after the Egypt game said it would be a good match but hinted that Spain’s reign of the game would continue.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t know who to root for. I’m conflicted when it comes to soccer; I mean futbol. The United States dominates in the world arena of athletics. Since WWII, the USA has been the overall medal winner at the summer Olympics except 7 times and only then communist countries placed ahead of us...that’s saying something.  We breed little people to become big stars.  We have big dreams for them even before they know what a Wheaties box is.  (I also have secret dream of NBA players trading salaries with inner city teachers for a week.) As every year goes by I find myself watching people turn into their version of Mr. Hyde as 35 year old men jump on top of each other and manhandle one another on their quest to be #1.  I grew up playing sports – I do love healthy competition, but in a week where a beloved high school coach was shot to death in the corn state, I have begun to wonder is being #1 worth it?

In the 2006 World Cup the US futbol team came out to play Ghana. Many people thought we would breeze through the game, but Ghana was playing for so much more. The entire country of Ghana shut down to watch the game. The people were asked to conserve electricity to have enough energy to watch on screens all over the sun drenched nation. People stayed home from work and the country rallied behind the 11 men on the field. With equal shock and awe Ghana beat the US and a country was given hope for another day.

The legacy and hope of futbol around the world is nothing like anything I have ever seen.  Yes I screamed when the US scored on Wednesday, but the win isn’t the same for our country – it’s expected. We’re the US, so we “should” be the best – that’s the attitude, but I disagree. If you’ve been to a European futbol match you understand this.  Every single person is Jack Nicholson at a Laker’s game. There is no fareweather fan. It might border on unhealthy, especially when rioting hooligans make a mess, but Ghana changed my whole perspective. It’s like those countries at the Olympics that show up with 3 people.  I love it; I start bawling because it means so much more that they are even there to compete.  They’re not there to bring home medals necessarily, they are there to bring pride to their nation.  Our athletes do this as well, but the pressure to perform and win is so much more immense.

This pressure to be #1 destroys people, as we watched Alicia Sacramone “lose it all” for the US gymnastics team last year against China. The weight of a country on her to bring home the gold instead of enjoying her even getting that far. People yell at TVs and parents run out on fields for the “love” of the sport. I get the passion, but really? Yes, our team can foul or get a penalty – they are not perfect. Neither are referees, but they don’t need to have their eyes checked. We expect perfection and this pressure made the US fire their soccer coach and redo the program after the last World Cup. We have to compete on the world’s stage, so let’s not embarrass ourselves. We defeat countries like Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, and Honduras, whose livelihoods revolve around this game, so when the US goes out on the field I get a weird feeling in my stomach.  Yes I hope they play well and yes they earned their victory on Wednesday, but what is the cost of being #1 to a country who historically, except for a small handful, has not rallied behind this sport?

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