TITUS THE TITAN

WWE powerhouse Titus O'Neil muscles up for Houston kids

O'Neil, a WWE powerhouse, is powering the lives of kids. Photo courtesy of Boys and Girls Club

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

Four WWE superstars rolled up their sleeves and got to work at a "Day of Service" event benefitting the Boys and Girls Clubs of Houston this week. Mark Henry, Kalisto, Dana Brooke, and Titus O'Neil helped assemble hundreds of bicycles at the Marriott Marquis hotel, which were given to needy children in Houston.

For one of the superstars, giving a poor kid a new bike is payback. Titus O'Neil has an amazing, inspiring story to tell.

"I am the recipient of a lot of charity work. People invested in me when they had nothing to gain from it. When I was a kid, I was always in trouble. People thought I would be in jail or dead by the time I was 16," says O'Neil, now 42 and a multi-time champion in WWE.

"I was the product of a rape. My mother was raped when she was 11 and had me when she was 12. We were very poor and I had a bad attitude about life. My mother gave up on me and sent me away. I was sent to the Florida Sheriffs Boys Ranch before I was a teenager. But it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. It was a life-changing sanctuary. For the first time, I felt safe, I knew I was in a safe place. I felt I could be open about who I was instead of being ashamed of it. As a result, I'm more comfortable sharing with people who I am and where I came from," O'Neil says.

"During my time at the Florida Sheriffs Boys Ranch, I heard the most powerful words ever spoken to me. They were 'I love you and I believe in you.' That's when I started to believe in myself. Before that, people had told me that they loved me, but they'd turn around and beat me and abuse me."

O'Neil lived at the Florida Sheriff's Boys Ranch through high school One day, a bus took the boys to a movie.

"We saw E.T. It was the first time I had never been to the movies. I thought, 'Is this how rich kids live? Do they get to go to the moves all the time?' I never had a birthday party. I didn't find out how I was conceived until I was 17. My mother once asked me if I wanted to meet my father. I said no. I didn't want to meet the man who stole my mother's childhood."

O'Neill earned a scholarship to the University of Florida, got his degree and played five years of pro ball. He joined WWE in 2009 and his autobiography, There's No Such Thing As A Bad Kid will be published in August.

Continue reading on CultureMap to learn about Titus O'Neil's work with disadvantaged children.

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Houston drops the game to Arizona

D-backs outslug Greinke and Astros to take series opener

Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

With the series win over the Rangers by taking two of three games in the middle of the week, the Astros welcomed the Diamondbacks to Minute Maid Park for a three-game weekend series, Houston's final three regular-season home games. Here is how the opener unfolded:

Final Score: Diamondbacks 6, Astros 3.

Record: 25-26, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zac Gallen (2-2, 3.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Luis Garcia (0-1, 2.53 ERA).

Houston scores first, but Arizona grabs a lead against Greinke

Houston would get on the board first on Friday night, with George Springer reaching base in the bottom of the first on an error, moving to second on a walk, then to third on a single, as the Astros loaded the bases with no out to threaten a big inning. Instead, they would come away with just one run, with Springer taking home on a wild pitch, grabbing the 1-0 lead, but leaving runs on the table.

They doubled their lead in the bottom of the third, getting a two-out RBI-double by Kyle Tucker to make it a 2-0 Houston lead. The D-backs responded in the top of the fourth, getting back-to-back singles to lead off the inning before a three-run homer by Kole Calhoun off of Zack Greinke would put Arizona in front, 3-2. Greinke would finish one more inning before Houston would move to their bullpen, striking out the side to bring his total to nine on the night, making the bad fourth inning the one blemish on his night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 1 HR, 89 P.

Astros tie it, but D-backs take the opener

George Springer would get Greinke off the hook in the bottom of the fifth, leading off the half-inning with a solo bomb to tie the game at 3-3. Luis Garcia was first out of Houston's bullpen and retired Arizona in order for a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh but would allow a leadoff single, RBI-triple, and wild pitch to bring in two runs. He would face two more batters, allowing a double and getting a strikeout, before Dusty Baker would come out to get him, now down 5-3.

Blake Taylor would make his return from the IL after Garcia, getting back-to-back outs to finish the inning. He continued on in the 5-3 game in the top of the eighth, but allowed a one-out solo homer to Calhoun, his second of the night and fourth RBI. That made it a 6-3 D-backs lead, which would go final as Houston would go scoreless after Springer's home run back in the fifth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will start Saturday at 6:10 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Luke Weaver (1-7, 6.70 ERA) for Arizona and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.22 ERA) for Houston.

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