By John J. Raspanti
Dreams are often ridiculed, but a dream is the seed that sometimes produces worthwhile results.
Take Matthew O’Neil. He’s 42. Loved sports all his life. Driven to succeed in whatever he’s attempted. O’Neil graduated from Colorado Christian University in 2001 and Regis University three years later.
In 2006, he ran for a commission post on the Clark County Commission in Nevada. He’s worked in business since, praised for his hard work and independence of thought. But since he can remember, sports have always been his first love.
A gifted teenage soccer player, his teams won seven straight division championships and six straight coastal league titles. O’Neil joined the Air Force in the 1990s—eventually being honored for excellence in conduct, unit, and longevity.
About that time, O’Neil laced up on a pair of boxing boxing gloves for the first time. He knocked out 1991 and 1993 LSU baseball champion Jeffrey Naquin. A year later, he faced all-Army superheavyweight champion, Preston Hartzog.
O’Neil attacked from the opening bell, stopping Hartzog. Neither has been stopped since. O’Neil believed he had found his calling.
“I’ve been a boxing fan since I was a child,” O’Neil told this writer last week. “I used to watch Mike Tyson and Tommy Morrison fights on television.”
O’Neil is determined to see where his athletic skills can take him. He’s been in intense training for months—with plans to turn professional this year. He’ll be fighting in the cruiserweight division.
His age seems of little consequence.
“I decided to pursue my dream at forty-two because I feel l have not lost too much of my previous skill level,” said O’Neil.
A dream can be a springboard for future success. But more importantly, chasing one takes guts.
Matthew O’Neil has the stomach for it.