During WrestleMania weekend, With Spandex stopped by the Englewood Community Center in Orlando to watch some Superstars play with and speak to a huge group of delighted children. It’s where we talked to Sami Zayn, if you’re keeping score, and where Titus O’Neil was absolutely ruthless when slinging dodgeballs at kids.
We got a chance to talk to Titus about his charity work, being Mega Dad of the Year, and most importantly, what advice he would give kids who want to make it a win.
With Spandex: You clearly love doing charity work like this. We saw you destroying children at dodgeball. How much does stuff like this mean to you?
Titus O’Neil: I enjoy it man. Just competition and just get out there and run around and have fun. That’s what I love, especially when it comes to dealing with kids, the more fun they see you having, the more fun they’re going to have. If you’re just going out there and going through the motions, then they going to think that that’s the way that … [They’ll think] we really don’t want to be here, when we actually do want to be here.
What advice would you give kids who want to make it a win?
Anybody who wants to make it a win? First and foremost you got to be willing to take a loss. That’s part of life. When we lose in life in anything, we get a bad grade in school, or we might come up short in a basketball game or a football game, or just life in general. I deal with a lot of kids that get dealt some very bad hands, and they turn around and end up making it a win.
That’s what my life is about. I come from a single parent home, fatherless home, in the projects, going to college. [I] was supposed to be a statistic, dead or in jail before I was 16. People invested in my life when they didn’t have anything to gain in return, and I made it a win. I went from being a losing statistic to being a winning statistic.
At what point do you take a step back and realize how much of a difference you make in the lives of these kids? It’s such a crazy thing to just watch them get so excited to see you. How does it feel?
It feels like I’m supposed to do this.
Well you are the Mega Dad of the Year.
Yeah. Even aside from the award, and even without being a WWE superstar I think that every adult should at some point try to invest in our children. I have two sons, as everybody knows, a 12- and a 10-year-old son, and I want my kids to go to school and be able to be comfortable with their teachers and be happy with their coaches and be good classmates and be good teammates on their own sports teams.
For me, when I go into a room, I don’t look at it like I’m the celebrity coming in, I look at it like I’m a person that’s supposed to come here and make an impact on these people’s lives. That’s why I’m blessed with opportunities that I get. That’s how I look at it. When they’re excited, to me it’s a great opportunity. If they’re excited about seeing me, they’re going to really be excited about what I have to say to them.