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Our Opinion: Boxing event an honor

October 26, 2001

There's a big event coming to town this weekend and that says something positive about the Imperial Valley. The El Centro Police Athletic League is going to host a state boxing tournament that will bring more than 100 fighters to the Valley for a weekend of first-rate boxing.

Some of the best amateur fighters in the state, all hungry for a chance to make it to the U.S. Olympic team will be in the Valley to take part in the event. Typically, the tournament is in Long Beach but this year that was not possible. When Long Beach didn't work out, there were few other areas ready to serve as a host. The Imperial Valley was.

This is the kind of event that can have a strong impact on the Valley on numerous levels. First, it shows the entire state that the Imperial Valley can serve as a host for major events, sporting or otherwise. Second, people who may have no idea the Valley is on the map will have a chance to see there is a lot going on in the desert Southwest. The more people are awakened to what we have here, the more attention the Valley will receive.

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More attention means more interest, and more interest can mean more growth and development, which in turn can lead to a stronger economy. That may seem like a stretch. After all, we are talking about a boxing event. Still, every time the Valley is able to step up and provide some service, that can only mean positive developments.

The El Centro PAL clearly deserves much credit along with other PALs — and other groups — in the Valley that have worked to develop strong boxing programs. The El Centro PAL was the first police athletic league in the Valley, and it started a chain reaction, in a way, that led to PALs forming in nearly every police department in the Valley.

The PALs have done a lot of positive work in communities for the kids, and every year they seem to be growing. This weekend's boxing event is proof of the strength PALs in the Valley have.

This weekend's event also shows how strong boxing has become in the Imperial Valley. Kids need activities in which they can become involved; events that keep them off the streets and give them something upon which they can focus. Boxing has done that for many kids in the Valley. Dreams of the Olympics and maybe even becoming a professional athlete have kept kids in PAL and other boxing programs, and kept them in school and out of trouble.

We would like to see more state events held here. After what will likely prove to be a successful boxing tourney this weekend, we expect we will see that happen. We have a lot to offer and it is time for people to take notice.

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