By Beth Treffeisen
Beacon Hill resident Alice O’Neil has always been a competitor. From a young age, O’Neil has been steeped in sports from figure skating, to field hockey to sailing. But one sport, in particular, has kept O’Neil in the game – tennis.
On Wednesday, October 4, O’Neil was awarded an honorary membership at the Badminton & Tennis Court at 52 Hemenway St., in Fenway, marking her long-time love for the sport.
“Tennis – I just love tennis,” said O’Neil. “It is always fun to beat somebody who is good because they think they’re going to win.”
O’Neil comes from a family of athletes. Her older sister was a champion golfer – which was the one sport O’Neil couldn’t get into. The game was too slow, so she took up the fast-paced tennis instead.
Her career in tennis started during the summer months in Falmouth, Cape Cod. During the fall and spring months, she continued at the Longwood Cricket Club in Chestnut Hill. Later, O’Neil attended Newton Country Day, where she continued playing tennis along with her many other sports.
In college, her love for sports continued as she took part of the Athletic Association at Manhattanville College in New York.
“I was on all the teams,” said O’Neil. “I did every sport I wasn’t into already.”
O’Neil’s talent included being a champion sailor, a star figure skater, skier, ping-pong player to even becoming a junior master of bridge.
“There are not many sports I didn’t do,” said O’Neil. “You have to keep to going. You can’t just walk off the court.”
O’Neil grew up in the Boston area in Chestnut Hill and is the youngest of three sisters. After college, she moved to Denver, Colorado but returned to Beacon Hill in 1972. She has called the Charles River Park home ever since.
A big member of the neighborhood, O’Neil has headed many committees in Boston and is a current member of the Beacon Hill Civic Association.
“Location, location, location,” said O’Neil. “Beacon Hill is unique. It’s a city by itself.”
Her skills go beyond just sports. O’Neil is a board-certified medical technologist and has worked at outreach programs at St. Elizabeth’s. She has a background in public relations, marketing and communications. Some of her jobs include the U.S. Olympic team, the America’s Cup Races, and the U.S. Pro Tennis Championships.
Looking back on her accomplishments, O’Neil said, “There wasn’t much I didn’t do. I was a daredevil. All my life I loved a challenge.”
Cut Line: Alice O’Neil at the Badminton & Tennis Court at 52 Hemenway St., in Fenway.