Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Peterson brothers on the show Thursday

I want all of you to hear the story of two brothers that are fighting for Prize Fight Boxing now. Both were Golden Gloves champions and are undefeated so far in their careers. Lamont is now 8-0, Anthony is 6-0. Truly a great sports story...

Gary wrote an article last year about both of them before the boxing trials in Tunica... where they made the finals but fell short in making the Olympic team.

Here is the article...

There were mice everywhere. A few inches of waste from a backed-up toilet filled the floor. The smell was unbearable. And yet given the options, it was the best place Lamont and Anthony Peterson could find to sleep.
So the two homeless brothers - unsupervised and both under the age of 10 - broke into the basement, curled up in a corner and prayed for better days.
''I remember it was so dark, and our clothes were mildewed and we were freezing,'' recalled Lamont, unfazed by the horror of the situation. ''But that's how we lived. That's all we knew.''
The Summer Olympics are full of stories of triumph, every four years consumed by tales of people beating the odds to represent their country on the grandest of stages.
Then there's the story of of Lamont and Anthony Peterson - two boxers from Washington, D.C., who will compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials next month in Tunica - who beat the odds just to get a meal, to sleep under a roof, to not be locked up, to still be alive.
What sounds like a bad movie to most was reality to the Peterson brothers.
Dad in jail. Mom in no shape to care for anybody. Ten siblings. Big cold city. No home. No money. And on most nights, no shelter.
Christmas presents? The Peterson brothers couldn't comprehend the idea. And if you haven't quite grasped how bad things were yet, here's one more bit of information.
''I was in a crackhouse at the age of 7,'' said Anthony, now 18 and the winner of the 2003 National Golden Gloves at 132 pounds. ''They were teaching me how to cut it up, break it down and sell it so that in a couple of years I could be on the streets doing my thing.
''That's probably how we would've ended up if not for Barry.''
Barry is Barry Hunter, boxing coach/lifesaver, who met the Peterson brothers when Lamont was 10 and Anthony 8.
By this time, the Peterson's father was out of jail, and so the brothers were living with him. Still, supervision was nonexistent, meals irregular.
''When I first met them, I didn't know how bad it was,'' Hunter acknowledged. ''But then after I started picking them up and taking them to the gym for a while, the truth finally came out
''I immediately felt a bond with these kids,'' he added. ''These boys were not like athletes to me. They were like my sons. Even today, I don't treat them any differently than I treat my own kids.''
In a few weeks the Peterson brothers will set up shop in Tunica, both with legitimate opportunities to land a spot on the U.S. Team and travel to Athens this summer.
After that, professional careers are in the plans, meaning neither will ever have to sleep in a bus station again or wash windows at an intersection just to make enough cash for a sandwich.
More important than all that, however, Lamont and Anthony Peterson's emergence to greatness will represent hope to others. Because, after all, there are still a lot of kids just like them running the same streets they used to run, many presumably on the verge of becoming nothing more than another statistic.
''We just want to show kids that there is a way out,'' said Lamont, who turned 20 Saturday and qualified for the Olympic Trials by winning the U.S. Challenge last year at 141 pounds. ''We want kids to know that you don't have to turn to the streets. There are other things, even if it doesn't look like it.
''No matter what you want to do, go do it,'' he added. ''Just find a dream and go with it.''

Tune in.