Why I’m Missing the Super Bowl

I’m not a huge football fan, but I’ve always followed my local teams (Chicago Bears and, in more recent decades, the Indianapolis Colts) and usually watched the playoffs and always the Super Bowl.  This year, with the Super Bowl in my own back yard, I’m taking a pass.

There are a number of factors contributing to this.  Early in 2011, I dropped my TV cable service in order to save money.  There wasn’t that much I ever watched on TV anyway – Dr. Who and a couple of SyFy shows, some sports, the Weather Channel (of course!) and Survivor.  Most of these I can watch on the Internet, although since there’s a 24 hour delay on Survivor, I have to be careful what I read during the interval.  So I haven’t watched any football at all this year, which is probably just as well, as the Bears weren’t stellar and the Colts came out at the bottom of the league.

Still, there are plenty of venues to watch the Super Bowl.  But I made a prior commitment this year, in full knowledge that it would keep me from watching.  More on that in a moment.

The one thing that pretty much chilled any interest I had in the Super Bowl this year was this:

Yes, the big secular holiday in the US, the premiere sporting event on our calendar, is known for attracting not just the standard sex trade, but its absolute dregs; people forcing children into prostitution (not women, and not just girls, as the story implies).  And this is a suppky that is meeting a demand.  The Super Bowl attendees are the market.  And they want to fuck children.  People who can afford to blow thousands of dollars to attend this event are a major market for the sexual exploitation of children.

It’s good that having the Super Bowl in Indiana drew attention to this issue, because Indiana’s laws against human trafficking were laughable; for example, parents of children couldn’t be charged with forcing their children into prostitution.  (!!!!!!!).  At least they have been improved because of this – they were signed into law just days ago, with this event in mind.  But it has really taken away any possibility of enjoying the Super Bowl this year for me.  Maybe next year, when it is somewhere else and improving some other state’s human trafficking laws.

What I’m doing instead, the prior commitment I spoke of, is teaching (or facilitating, as we are supposed to call it) a sex education class at the church I attend, the Unitarian Universalist Church.  They have developed a curriculum, with modules for various age groups, that is frank, open, tolerant and promotes sexuality as a positive while covering all of the necessary precautions and affirming personal choice and responsibility.  I and my co-leader Kat do the curriculum for junior high/middle school ages.  Today, among other things, we’ll be having a panel of people across the gender/preference spectrum – gay, trans, bi, queer (don’t worry, I’ve got straight covered like a rug painted green).  Hopefully, we are helping to produce young people who can accept and be open about their own sexuality, and avoid the ignorance, fear and shame that lead some into the exploitation of others.

All in all, I don’t feel any regret at missing Super Bowl X-whatever.

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2 Responses to Why I’m Missing the Super Bowl

  1. Like your blog, Eric. You are so brave to teach sex ed to kids – and admirable. We need courses like this in every school.

  2. Leilah Thiel says:

    Thing is, the increase in trafficking around major events like the Super Bowl and World Cup are not things that have actually been shown.

    “There is debate among organizations involved in stopping trafficking over the accuracy of claims that the “demand effect” is real. In 2011, the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) concluded in it’s, report that “an increase in trafficking for prostitution during large sporting events is unlikely” and that a mythologizing of the issue actually distracts from legitimate and thoughtful consideration of other types of trafficking. Rachel Lloyd echoed this concern earlier this week, when she asked whether it matters if trafficking increases during the Super Bowl — isn’t the truth about trafficking bad enough?”

    While trafficking is horrible, we need to deal with the realities of the situation – trafficking happens, it’s ongoing, and misrepresenting when and where it happens only takes attention away from what’s actually going on.

    I’m still massively proud of you for teaching the class – you’re making a serious difference for those kids, and that’s something that will change the world.

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