Originally created 09/15/99

Denise Moraetes: Boxing club's goal is to keep kids off the streets, teach discipline, respect



(Editor's note: The writer, Denise Moraetes, is the wife of Augusta Boxing Club director Tom Moraetes.)

IT IS SAD that Vernon Forrest (column, Sept. 9) has been given a forum to air falsehoods and opinions with one hope in mind -- to attempt to ruin the community's not-for-profit community boxing program, the Augusta Boxing Club. This club put Mr. Forrest on the path to his current status as a professional athlete.

Am I surprised that Mr. Forrest wrote the letter? No. Some people just don't get it, and he is definitely one of them. The glass will always be half empty for Mr. Forrest. When a professional athlete looks back on his beginnings and gives all credit for his success and coaching to a peer only a year older than himself and not to the coach of the program that first put the gloves on him ... well it is obvious he is hoping to hurt his true coach.

A professional athlete looks back on his road trips with the Augusta Boxing Club and 11 years later complains about the number of athletes in a hotel room and the bologna sandwiches that he and the coach were eating. He does not realize that he was fortunate to have those experiences (meeting new people, boxing, and traveling) ...

WHEN A professional athlete looks back on the athletic roots and describes the environment as a "dictatorship" and not as the necessary discipline and structure that lead to his current success as a professional ... the glass is empty.

When a professional athlete believes the only way he can give back to an organization that provided him the foundations is financially -- he is a lost soul.

Unfortunately there is a disappointed soul, my husband, Tom Moraetes. The founder and head coach of the Augusta Boxing Club is disappointed on two accounts. He is disappointed that as a full-time juvenile police officer and the director of the Augusta Boxing Club with very little financial support, he has now been told that the transportation, lodging and the food the Augusta Boxing Club and its supporters were able to provide were not good enough nor appreciated!

He's disappointed to see that the elements that made Mr. Forrest successful -- discipline and a structured learning environment with clearly expressed expectations -- have been construed as a necessary evil and not a necessary ingredient to Mr. Forrest's current success.

Mr. Forrest's lies and opinions, are 11 years old.

IN 11 YEARS only one thing has changed! No more bologna sandwiches! Because of their financial support corporate sponsors and friends of the Augusta Boxing Club have moved the club away from bologna sandwiches. The community has been "giving back" to the club in many ways and not just financially, whether it is the Medical College of Georgia providing nutrition seminars for the youth or doctors volunteering their time for the monthly athlete check-ups. The community supports the discipline, guidance and instruction that the Augusta Boxing Club provides Augusta's youth.

OTHER THAN that, very little has changed! If an athlete is late to practice that athlete is disciplined! When an athlete takes a trip out of town, he or she will share a room with 3 or 4 other athletes! The club is not designed to produce state or national boxing champions. Its goal is to keep kids off the streets, and teach discipline and respect! It is not about winning. It's about how to act like a winner!