Atlas Foundation dinner is Thursday

November, 16, 2011
11/16/11
10:38
AM ET
The press has a propensity to concentrate on the bad stuff, the salacious, the material that appeals to the voyeur in us all. This trait is present in fightwriters, who frequently spotlight boxers behaving badly, and judges performing poorly, and promoters fighting amongst each other and ignoring the desires of their customers, the fans.

We fightwriters drop the ball when we don't shine a light on the good stuff that is present in the sport. We forget to regularly remind readers that boxing doesn't exist simply for our viewing pleasure, that the sport takes at-risk kids off the streets, gives them structure and reason for being, and prevents incalculable carnage, as those kids steer clear of gang violence, and drugs and other street temptations which seduce so many kids from forgotten communities.

On Thursday night in Staten Island, we can again be reminded that there is much to celebrate in boxing, as the 15th Annual Teddy Dinner takes place at the Hilton Garden Inn. The dinner will feature dozens of celebrities, including Yankees GM Brian Cashman, former Jets head coach Eric Mangini, and "Jersey Shore's" Vinny Guadagnino, gathered together to raise funds for the Theodore Atlas Foundation. It kicks off at 7 PM.

The Foundation, headed by ESPN analyst and renowned trainer Teddy Atlas, son the the late physician Theodore Atlas, dispenses funds to those who fall in between the cracks. And make no mistake, in these leaner economic times, there are no shortage of people to help.

While scores of heartless politicians use the economic downturn as an excuse to push their agenda, to shrink the social safety net which gives a hand up to the 'have nots,' while they demonize recipients as sponges and grifters, people who can't afford health insurance die. Parents with nowhere else to turn as they try and keep their kids with cerebral palsy, or muscular dystrophy, or other frequently crippling conditions from succumbing to their disease often hit a brick wall when they can't afford equipment for their child, or a rehab regimen, or other "luxuries" which are often available to only the most fortunate citizens. This is shameful, in the richest nation in the world, but it is a reality and thankfully there are organizations like the Foundation to pick up some of the slack.

This dinner is the primary fundraiser for the non-profit organization. Atlas deserves heavy credit for not allowing his busy schedule--in addition to his ESPN work, he trains WBA heavyweight champion Alex Povetkin (22-0), who fights Cedric Boswell on Dec. 3 in Finland--to derail his efforts to lift up those people who get turned away by some of those high profile charitable institutions who shall remain nameless. Foundation board member Keith Sullivan, an attorney who himself volunteers precious time and hours that he could be billing for, tells NYFightBlog, "We truly appreciate everyone's support. We will never let up and let the people in need fall through the cracks."

At the dinner, there will be live and silent auctions. Up for grabs, for a good cause, will be a New Year’s Eve Miami getaway package, complete with 14-person suite to watch the Jets take on the Dolphins, and an all-inclusive luxury trip to the Masters in Augusta. Tickets and tables for the event can be purchased via the Foundation’s website, found at www.dratlasfoundation.com/teddydinner.html, or by calling 718-980-7037.

I will be cutting a check to the Foundation totaling one half my weekly wages for writing this Blog. I humbly urge any reader, especially those in a higher tax bracket, to go big, and donate to a most worthy cause.
Michael Woods, a member of the board of the Boxing Writers Association of America, has been covering boxing since 1991. He writes about boxing for ESPN The Magazine and is the news editor for TheSweetScience.com.

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