Archive for August, 2008

31
Aug
08

Gustov, Hanna and Ike; Update–Even Less to Like

As so often happens with hurricanes, rarely does everything go according to plan. Gustov intensified faster than anyone believed yesterday and weakened more than anyone believed over Cuba last night. Also, the projected track is now ever so slightly to the east of where it was yesterday. I congratulate the authorities for making the decision to evacuate New Orleans and much of southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi.

Gustov is moving much faster than originally thought and this is why those who either have to make the call to evacuate or actually evacuate must walk a very thin line of timing. Too little time and thousands of people could be caught in the open in vehicles. Too much time and the storm could change course enough to make the evacuation unnecessary. We can only hope there is enough time to move the millions of people in Gustov’s path to the safety upstate before the storm hits.

The people of this country should be prepared for images come Tuesday morning that bring back very bad memories of three years ago. The potential is there for New Orleans to see greater flooding than with Katrina. Hopefully we will not have to see the images of stranded people at the Superdome since it will not be open. I am sure there will still be people on roofs who stubbornly refused to leave and then demand to be rescued from their stupidity.

Hanna now appears to be a storm which will ride up the east coast of Florida with a very good chance it will either hit South Carolina or North Carolina as a major hurricane. With so much attention focused on Gustov, it will be very difficult to divert resources and attention to the East Coast. Having been involved, I do know the Emergency Management system is top of the line in both South and North Carolina.

There is a very good possibility that a rare double hit might be coming for the Carolinas. Soon to be named hurricane Ike looks to be on track to follow on the heels of Hanna and quite possibly strike the same areas. Although very rare, this has happened as recently as 2004 in Florida.

To make matters worse, there is a chance there could be two more named storms come to life in the Atlantic this week. Despite the promise of the tropical onslaught slowing down later in September, what lies ahead the next two to three weeks could end up straining the American disaster relief setup to the max. There are only so many trained volunteers, so many feeding stations, so many tents and cots, so many bulldozers and so many chain saws. Worst of all, there is only so much money to help in the relief effort.

As I write this, warehouses well north of the coast in Louisiana and Mississippi are being filled with supplies to help with the disaster relief and recovery. Unlike Katrina when everything had to come in after the storm, there are now huge warehouses filled or being filled with necessary items to help with the initial clean up operations. Unfortunately, it will take many warehouses filled many times to help with the recovery effort.

As much of America ignores what is happening on its coasts because it does not affect them; it puts immense pressure on the rest of America to step up and provide manpower help and financial contributions. Yes, America did a great job after Katrina but what if we are facing three or four Katrina’s within a few weeks? Will America be willing to divert some of its money and attention away from politics long enough to help those devastated by any upcoming storms? I pray the answer is YES.

31
Aug
08

Gustov, Hanna, and Ike; There’s Nothing Here to Like

It APPEARS at the moment that as bad as things may get in central Louisiana Monday night or Tuesday, the major population centers of New Orleans and Lake Charles may end up receiving “only” category 1 or 2 winds instead of the potential category 4 where Gustov makes landfall. This doesn’t mean that there will not be great hardship in certain places, for there is bound to be with any hurricane, it just means that it looks now like New Orleans will not face the dire consequences Katrina brought.

For the thousands of Katrina survivors still living in travel trailers and other temporary housing, Gustov might as well make landfall on top of them. Those living in such structures must be evacuated for even category 1 winds can rip a small travel trailer to shreds. It is unfortunate that there are still people living in housing the vast majority of Americans use only for a weekend at the lake or a week of deer hunting. But, the facts are that trailers offer little or no protection from hurricanes or their associated tornadoes.

For anyone the least bit interested in weather, the amazing intensification of Gustov over the past twenty four hours is beyond description. How a storm goes from being a strong tropical storm to a category 4, almost category 5 hurricane in twenty four hours is mind boggling. It just goes to show why hurricanes should never be taken lightly and those living in areas affected by hurricanes MUST live with the understanding they might lose everything during any given storm.

As Gustov rips apart central Louisiana, Hanna will become a hurricane off the east coast of Florida. It APPEARS now that it will curve northeast and affect eastern Florida all the way to the Carolinas instead of following Gustov into the Gulf Coast. This is good news for places like Mobile, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida who only yesterday looked to be in Hanna’s crosshairs, but is bad news for a whole new set of cities.

It is far too early to know if Hanna will re-curve and head out to the Atlantic or hug the east coast of Florida and hit South Carolina. As Hanna develops it should become a huge storm whose impact should be felt over a wide geographical area. Needless to say, people in Charleston and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina as well as all along the North Carolina coast need to keep an eye on Hanna as she goes from being a tropical storm to a hurricane the next five days.

Looking far out in the Atlantic, hurricane Ike (not named yet) APPEARS to forming off the coast of Africa. Storms that form there take forever to cross the Atlantic and many times re-curve harmlessly into the middle of the ocean. But, there are a fair number of them who hold together and as they get closer to North America they strengthen into monster East Coast storms. Hurricane Ike, if he forms and makes it this far, is the first storm this year with the potential to cause havoc along the coasts of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and points northeast.

So, in the space of the first two weeks of September, we could very easily see major hurricanes affecting the Gulf Coast, Florida and the lower Southeast Coast and Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Coasts. Talk about a mess; what if we had three Katrina-like storms to deal with? Resources are already stretched thin now. If there were three separate storm locations it would be a disaster relief nightmare.

Before even thinking about Ike, or even Hanna we must get through with Gustov and whatever he brings to whomever he brings it to. We should have a very clear idea of where Gustov will hit by Sunday afternoon. Needless to say, that is not enough time for masses of people to evacuate any area. If in doubt leave now and go see some relatives for the next few days. I have heard that most motels in LA, MS and AL are booked solid so that leaves points further north.

Anyone with interests in south central Louisiana needs to “leave the building NOW”. As I heard one forecaster say; Lafayette, Louisiana is not a place to be visiting Monday night and Tuesday of this week. I am sure the same thing will be said in another few days about Hanna’s anticipated landfall and perhaps a week later for Ike’s.

28
Aug
08

Be Prepared, Have a Plan and Keep One Eye on the Southeastern Sky

Three years ago, the United States felt a collective punch in the gut as hurricane Katrina slammed ashore and brought with it human suffering and physical damage previously unimagined. Before Katrina, the worst disaster to hit the country was hurricane Andrew. Many years had passed since Andrew blew away Homestead, Florida and much of the country had forgotten just how devastating a major hurricane can be when it hits a populated area.

Less than a month after Katrina scoured the Mississippi coast and flooded New Orleans; hurricane Rita formed and quickly became a category 5 storm. Initially it appeared Rita would surpass Katrina as far as strength and location. By all apparent indications, Rita looked like it was heading directly for Galveston and then Houston, Texas.

With images of Katrina fresh in people’s minds, millions of people tried to leave Houston all at once and succeeded in producing the world’s biggest traffic jam. Before the last of the evacuee’s could make it out of town, Rita moved to the east and ended up slamming into the Lake Charles, Louisiana area. Even though it weakened, the damage the storm surge alone caused to small fishing communities on the coast was surreal.

Near the end of the hurricane season, Wilma formed in the Gulf of Mexico and headed east to Florida. Wilma slammed into far southern Florida with a vengeance and only added to the woes from the previous year when one storm after another criss-crossed the state causing staggering losses to property. Thankfully, Wilma did not hit where Charley had exploded the previous year. Wilma veered a little to the south.

In three months in 2005, three major hurricanes plowed into the Gulf coast of the United States. The weakest of the three, Katrina, ended up becoming a tragedy this country never had dealt with before. What would have happened if:

1. Katrina had not weakened from a category 5 to a category 3 storm by the time it made landfall?

2. Rita would have stayed on course and remained a category 5 storm hitting Galveston and then Houston, Texas?

3. Rita would have kept going east and hit the same area Katrina had torn up a few weeks earlier?

4. Wilma would have veered off course and hit the same area Katrina and Rita had hit?

Perhaps one of the worst things to come out of the Rita scare was the reluctance now on the part of the masses to heed warnings to evacuate. Most people would rather take their chances riding out a hurricane than get stuck in a traffic jam like the one those leaving Houston encountered. It is nigh unto impossible to convince people to evacuate anyway, but after the Rita fiasco, it has been even harder.

Fast forward to the present. We currently have Gustov unexpectedly hitting Jamaica. Where it goes, how strong it gets and the precise location it ends up hitting are all unknowns at present. Yesterday the NHC track had it going straight into New Orleans. Today it is further west. By the time it gets close enough to know for sure where it is going to hit, there is not enough time to prepare and evacuate. This is no one’s fault, it is just the result of inexact science.

Getting ready to blow up into hurricane Hanna a storm is poised to head straight for southern Florida this time next week. Again, it is impossible to know if this will be a huge storm or a minimal one. It is also absolutely impossible to know where it is heading. Due to meteorological conditions, it is pretty much a certainty this storm will form, grow and head west from the Bahamas toward Florida.

Far out in the Atlantic there are the beginnings of what might be Ike. This is entirely too far away to be concerned with except to say that this hurricane season will seemingly go on forever with storms and rumors of storms. There is a very real chance we could still see a major East Coast hurricane in October. This is not unheard of, since Hugo was a devastating October hurricane.

Weather forecasting is full of “what ifs”. The models take all the “what ifs” into account and try to provide the most logical outcome. But, with so many variables, there is no way to know even 24 hours in advance the precise location a hurricane’s eye will cross land. This is why hurricane watches must be taken as more than a nuisance and warnings must be heeded unless a person has a death wish.

Years ago a combination of events led to the “perfect storm” written about and then made into a hit movie. Perfect storms are extremely rare, but occasionally take place. They are the sum total of all the “what ifs” coming together in the worst case scenario. Thankfully the afore mentioned “what ifs” three years ago did not take place. Thus, the country was spared the agony of watching either three huge metropolitan areas hit by category 5 hurricanes within a couple of months or one location getting hit two or three times.

God forbid the current string of storms would produce the same scenario as three years ago; although there is that faint possibility. All persons from Galveston/Houston to Miami should at least be aware that there is a chance one or more major hurricanes could strike within the next two months, and especially within the next two weeks.

Common sense demands general preparations be in place every year along the Gulf Coast. This year, I believe the preparation needs to be ratcheted up a notch due to the relentless storm/rumor of storm situation presenting itself. More than anything else, people should at least have a plan. Those who suffer the most in any storm are those who had no plan to deal with what might arise. Be prepared, have a plan and keep one eye on the southeastern sky.

20
Aug
08

Fay “could” end up more of a headache than Katrina was

There is little, if any historical data to compare what Tropical Storm Fay is doing to. Thus, logic dictates there is even less data to look at as to what it COULD do. This little storm has managed to cause even the most skilled forecasters to scratch their heads in utter bewilderment. If the scenario should happen to play out over the next few days this storm would make history.

Weather events do not happen by luck, chance or coincidence. There are meteorological reasons for why a storm does what it does. Storms do not have a mind of their own which enables them to deliberately do things to aggravate forecasters. Storms end up doing what the various aspects of weather governing it tell it to do.

One of the most distressing possible ways the whole Fay saga could end is if the storm makes history by hitting near Jacksonville, Florida as category 1 hurricane and moves west back across Florida and emerges in the Gulf of Mexico intact. If, and the probabilities of this taking place are very slim, this were to happen the end results from Fay could be worse than Katrina three years ago.

Winds blow counterclockwise around a hurricane. Katrina came up from the south and because of this, the storm surge ended up being over twenty feet along the Mississippi coast. The initial damage in New Orleans from Katrina was minimal because it sat on the western side of the hurricane moving north. The New Orleans catastrophe came about when Katrina moved ashore and the winds switched to the north and blew the waters from Lake Pontchartrain into the city which sits below sea level.

If Fay were to move west from Florida towards New Orleans, the potential disaster would dwarf Katrina. Why? Because the westward movement of the storm would produce a prolonged period of NORTH winds ahead of the approaching storm. Instead of a storm surge preceding the hurricane like Katrina, the storm surge would follow the storm and be minimal. The greater danger would be the north winds over a prolonged time blowing the waters of Lake Pontchartrain into the city of New Orleans.

Due to the lay of the land and where the city of New Orleans sits, there is actually very little danger of a storm surge inundating the city. The potential problems have always laid in the scenario of a storm moving in from the southeast or east and generating a prolonged period of hurricane force winds over Lake Pontchartrain. Unless a person has been to the area it is difficult to picture how a lake could cause more problems than an ocean; but such is the case in New Orleans.

No one knows at this time what Fay will end up doing. It may come ashore again and more or less just fizzle out. It may come ashore and move to the northwest into Georgia and help break the longstanding drought there. It may emerge on the west side of Florida, move south and make a loop following the same path it just took. It may emerge into the warm waters of the Gulf, become a hurricane and move west directly toward New Orleans.

This storm has a history of NOT doing what the computer models think it should do. Because of this, it would be highly advantageous for anyone from the panhandle of Florida to New Orleans to be acutely aware of the movements of Fay over the next few days. Some models and some hurricane experts think the greatest danger is that Fay emerges off the west coast of Florida, immediately intensifies and follows Ivan’s 1994 path which would put Mobile, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida at high risk.

Needless to say, the next three to seven days could end up being at the very least, interesting and at the worst, a disaster which would equal or exceed Katrina in some respects. And as if this were not enough to be concerned about, out in the Atlantic is the next storm which is slowly taking shape and could be buffeting some portion of the United States coastline by this time next week.

I would highly recommend anyone with interests on the Gulf Coast to monitor what Fay is doing very closely along with the next storm. The remainder of this hurricane season could end up being very active and one that presents forecasters with storms such as Fay which are nearly impossible to forecast. As in any hurricane season, the next 2 months are the most dangerous and especially so this year. Vigilance is the key word for the day and for the days to come.

14
Aug
08

While the West’s Tongues Wag, the Russian Bear Laughs

Let it be known right now, right here that what follows is strictly my own opinion and nothing more.  Those people thinking either the United States or Europe will come to the aid of Georgia militarily are sadly mistaken. It will never happen, regardless of the circumstances. There is no way the West is going to engage Russia in a war. It simply will not happen due to economic as well as political reasons.

Russia is the world’s second largest oil producer and supplies much of the energy needs for much of Europe. Even if Russia decides to “punish” the Ukraine or even Poland for their ties to the West, there is no way the West would risk losing their precious oil and natural gas supplies to defend ex-Soviet bloc countries. The prevailing attitude of avoiding a third European war within a hundred years will stifle any voices crying for military confrontation with Russia.

Those with eyes to see should be able to clearly see what is happening. Russia has let it be known that if Iran is invaded, the consequences would be terrible for the West. It is no secret that the United States started moving even more naval vessels into the Gulf area recently. Is it strictly a coincidence that at the same time the United States makes a move that potentially could be seen as preparing for an attack on Iran, Russia launches its military offensive against Georgia?

If the much threatened and talked about attack on Iran were to happen, almost immediately Russia would probably invade and take back over a country such as the Ukraine or possibly even Poland. Since the West would and could not do anything since it just “invaded” Iran, nothing would stop Russia from retaking all the countries that once were part of the Soviet Union. Of course this is a worst case scenario but it is reflective of the world in which we live today.

Everyone thought the “cold war” was over twenty years ago when the Soviet Union broke up with amazing speed. Now, we are quickly regressing back to the way things were in the 1980’s. When the rights of sovereign countries are ignored and territorial demarcations are wiped off the map; we are indeed re-entering an era of the strongest prevailing and the weakest being taken over.

Europe has proven over and over again its willingness to pacify anyone bigger and stronger than even their collective union. Europe would gladly raise the white flag than risk another military conflict on their soil. NATO is a joke and could not withstand the Russian military machine for much longer than the Georgian army did. NATO is only strong if the United States is willing to be involved. Even if the United States wanted to get involved, its military is spread so thin right now fighting terrorists, any help would be limited to Air support.

The West’s response to Georgia’s situation is the prototype for all future incursions by the Russian military machine. Sure there is a lot of talk and wagging the finger at the mean bullies from Moscow, but nothing more except a couple of token flights of a huge supply plane to bring in cots and blankets. Good grief, more was done for earthquake victims in countries that hate the United States than is being done to help one of its staunchest allies.

If John Kennedy had not stood up to the Russians in 1962 and ordered the blockade of Cuba, odds are there would have ended up being a nuclear exchange and neither Russia or the United States would be who they are today. It took unprecedented “guts” for our President to look the Russian bear in the eyes and tell it to back away. Amazingly, the bear growled and proceeded to run away with its tail between its legs.

Ronald Reagan dared challenge the Soviet bear and in the process precipitated its demise. Not only was the Berlin wall torn down, but the entire country of Germany was reunited, and all the Eastern European nations regained their independence. When a President takes a stand and draws a line in the sand which cannot be crossed without dire consequences; the enemy will think long and hard before crossing such line.

All the attempts to pacify Hitler yielded only his incredible land grab in the early years of World War II. If Winston Churchill had not drawn a line in the sand and refused to placate Hitler, the Nazi’s would have succeeded in taking Europe before the United States could fire a shot in her defense. Time and again history had taught that a leader must take a stand or his country or people will become subjects to whoever is stronger.

I am not advocating war with Russia for that is foolish and suicidal. I am advocating doing something besides the endless diplomatic tongue wagging which the Europeans are notoriously known for. The West can sit back and scold Russia for the next year and all Russia will do is keep doing whatever it desires. Russia does not need the West’s help due to its vast energy reserves and military machine.

If it were not so tragic, what is happening in Georgia would almost be humorous. While the West scuttles diplomats all over the place and the UN debates possible “sanctions” against Russia; Russia just keeps advancing toward the capital of Georgia undeterred. Once they get there they will not leave. All the tongue lashing in the world will do nothing but give them a big belly laugh for they know they can do whatever they please and no one will dare stop them.

11
Aug
08

Coming Soon–Hurricanes and an Early/Bad Winter?

A deep and probing question that I believe is extremely important to ask at this time deals with a subject not too many want to handle, and that is the weather. It is nearly impossible to avoid discussions of the weather for they tie into the greater discussion regarding energy. So, it is not that weather is not being discussed, but that the discussions are very one-sided. There is another side to the global warming debate, and I fear this other side will dominate our lives starting in a few short months.

I have been looking at graphs, reports and other data along with reading what people I trust are saying about the upcoming winter. It is not pleasant unless you love cold and snow. Just about every meteorological measuring stick indicates a very strong probability for a kind of winter this year our great grandparents would have been proud of. The disturbing thing is that this may very follow one of the worst hurricane seasons we have seen in a number of years.

Weather does not happen by chance and unless you buy into the Chinese propaganda that they can make it rain and not rain at their discretion; man does not control the weather. Weather systems come into being through an intricate set of circumstances dealing with oceans, currents, the sun and winds. A prime example is the huge difference it makes to much of the world when there is an El Nino in the Pacific Ocean vs. a La Nina.

Just about every weather model is predicting a dramatic increase in tropical activity starting in the next week or so and getting stronger as the month progresses. Of particular concern is how things are setting up for waves coming off the coast of Africa to blossom and turn into huge hurricanes that track thousands of miles and run a high risk of hitting either Florida or the East Coast of America. There is such apathy regarding this potential in most places that even if a storm were heading straight for a location there would be many who would ignore all warnings.

I would most certainly urge anyone living along the Atlantic Coast to stay abreast of developments over the next few weeks. The true experts in the field see basically no way, based on current weather trends, that there will not be a direct hit somewhere along the American coastline within the next couple of weeks of a major hurricane. Now is the time to be preparing for what may be coming, not only in the Florida and the Carolina’s, but farther north as well.

What if a major hurricane manages to hit the Washington/Baltimore, Philadelphia or New York areas? These are places not accustomed to dealing with hurricanes. They are not prepared for mass evacuations and most homeowners do not have a clue how to “hurricane proof” their homes. A major hurricane (category 3 or above) moving up the Chesapeake Bay, Delaware or Hudson Rivers could cause as much or probably greater damage and carnage than Katrina three years ago. This country is not ready for a major disaster to hit along the East Coast.

What if a major hurricane strikes and knocks out power to millions upon millions of people in early October? As evidenced by Katrina, it takes time to get the electrical grid back up and running after a major storm. If a major hurricane struck the East Coast in October and then we had a “freak” early season cold snap; the result would be a humanitarian catastrophe. Add in the inevitable spike in the cost of oil, gasoline and heating oil that would come from such a disaster and there could be millions of people trying to stay warm enough to stay alive.

This is not just another gloom and doom post. I am talking about very real possibilities that could happen as a result of the way the elements which dictate weather are lining up. NOTHING indicates a quiet remainder to the tropical season. NOTHING indicates a nice mild winter coming up, especially for the northern and northeast parts of the country. There are many factors at work which, if they came together in a certain way could bring the scenarios mentioned to pass.

The current steep drop in the price of oil is temporary. Whether the war in Georgia or the formation of a hurricane in the right place; something is bound to “spook” the markets again and set off another round of price increases. The wise person would take advantage of the current lower prices and make sure their heating oil and propane tanks are full. The wise person would seriously look into buying a generator with enough time for an electrician to hard wire it into the home’s circuit. The wise person would be looking for ways to conserve energy, stockpiling emergency provisions and saving funds at this time.

The clock is ticking and within the next few months there could be a lot bigger things going on in this country than just an election. No candidate controls the weather. No candidate can tell a hurricane to get lost. No candidate can hold his/her hand up and stop a frigid cold front from coming any further. As much as most candidates believe they are God, they are not. The biggest things which could make or break this country are NOT in the hands of those seeking elected office. They are in the hands of God.

08
Aug
08

Olympic Games are still only GAMES

As the world focuses its collective eyes upon China the next couple of weeks in it’s once every four years big love fest; I choose to look elsewhere to what may or may not be going on. I am sure the opening ceremonies will be grandeur and the millions upon millions of dollars spent to entertain the world will be spectacular. I choose to ignore such foolishness for it all has absolutely nothing to do with my God and is nothing but pure vanity.

There are hundreds of committed Christians participating in the upcoming games and I pray they do well. I pray they give their best and if they win and I will thank God. But, what if they come in last place? Does that mean God didn’t like them? It is a very tricky issue to blame God for winning at anything for it implies if you lose that God had forsaken you. What if two Christians are competing against each other? Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose.

I love it when athletes give the glory and praise to God when they win, but I get very nervous when they say God “gave them” the win. I am not really sure what God’s attitude is toward the nonsense that will be going on in China, but I am sure He will still be quite busy tending to far more urgent needs arising in every country represented. Can and will He help an athlete win a gold medal? That is His call and I defer the answer to that question to Him.

People love spectacles. They love the halftime show during the Super Bowl and the hoopla of Oscar night. For some reason, totally beyond me, people love parades and festivals of all sorts and types. People love the thrill of sitting in a huge stadium when it erupts after their team scores a touchdown, a goal or someone hits a homerun.

Many people live for the “rush” found in jumping out of an airplane, rafting down a river or climbing up and down a mountain. Taken to the next level, some people feel life is not worth living unless they can dive off a thousand foot cliff, ride the surf of an approaching hurricane or jump out of a helicopter and hit the slopes skiing. For those whose purpose in this life is limited to their next adrenaline rush; life becomes nothing but a quest for more and more dangerous activities.

Many of the greatest spectacles ever recorded were not viewed at the time as such. When the children of Israel watched as Moses parted the Red Sea, they did not erupt in cheers of “Moses, Moses” as he led them to victory. They were far too scared looking over their shoulders at the approaching Egyptian army to appreciate the miracle that had taken place in front of them.

When Jesus’ disciples were able to feed thousands with a few fish and loaves of bread, there was no yelling and screaming and whooping and hollering going on. The attitude of those present was one of appreciation for the food and not high fiving each other and head butting the dude next to him. Even though the people witnessed a miracle, it was met with thankfulness.

Sporting events have been around for thousands of years. There is nothing wrong with participating in athletics per se. What is wrong is when the game climbs out of the sphere in which it belongs and takes on a life in and of itself. When the game becomes the means to fame and wealth beyond comprehension, then there is a line that has been crossed. Sporting events are games, whether individual or team, and need to be kept in the proper perspective.

Athletic events long ago transitioned into the realm of spectacles. The very reason for life for many fans is to watch and root for their favorite gladiators as they do battle with the dreaded enemy down the road or across the ocean. When watching an NFL game it is ludicrous to see the extent people make fools of themselves as they root for their team. Dying one’s hair or skin to match the team colors is stupid. Sporting events are nothing but a game, or they were supposed to be.

Years ago I used to enjoy watching gymnastics and skating during the Olympics. Then I did research into what parents put their children through in order to pursue the gold medal dream. These kids have no life except in the training facilities where they are driven to get better and better at all costs. Interestingly, this is a phenomenon predominantly prevalent with girls. Boys are driven to become the best at football, basketball and baseball.

If someone were to ask me why I am not a fan of sports for the most part; here is my answer in a nutshell. I see kids being “sold out” by their parents to the athletic monster. Under the guise of becoming good enough to win a medal, scholarship or contract; kids are exploited and used at incredibly young ages to fulfill the desires of their parents. Kids are shoved into competitive sports at ages when they should be still playing cowboys and indians and not putting on expensive uniforms which say they are the “Indians”.

Many kids spend as much (or more) of their life practicing and participating in sports than sitting in the classroom. Parents spend as much of their life driving their children to various practices and games as they do working their job. It seems that unless the kids are involved in some type of athletic endeavor every month of the year, they are missing out on the real life.

In the words of Solomon; vanity, vanity all is vanity. I have little or no tolerance towards parents who give their children to the ravenous wolves found in all sorts of athletics to be eaten and devoured. I am not talking about organized sports for kids who are old enough to WANT to participate; I am talking about parents who force their kids to become involved in athletics when they are three or four years old so they will become so good that later they will win the gold medal or get a 250 million dollar contract.

I am sorry, but I have seen too much ugliness over the years to believe in the “purity” of athletics. Every sport is tainted with illegal drug use by many of its superstars. Every sport has it’s thugs and ugly people who would eat their own child if it got them a victory. Every sport is laden with arrogant and pampered superstars who think the universe should revolve around them. Every sport has fanatics supporting it who throw reason to the wind and spend money they do not have to either go to games or bet on them.

I really do wish all the athletes well in the upcoming games. I especially wish those Christians who have not sold their souls or bodies to the gods of fame and fortune Godspeed. I pray they do well and that they give God the glory if they do. I pray that those who have not succumbed to performance enhancing drugs or other forms of cheating win in every event. I pray that those who have sold their lives to their governments or trainers repent and get their lives back. Let the games begin.