By Ryan Wilkins
Growing up, my mom told me “you can do anything you put your mind to,” and I always believed her. If someone would have told me that we would win a national contest on ESPN three years in a row, I would have had a hard time believing that. I guess if a community puts their mind and heart to something, we can accomplish that goal.
The first year we were privileged enough to be selected by Coach Thad Matta of The Ohio State University, we were thrilled to even be selected. Our team worked tremendously hard, well beyond what anyone could expect, to generate support in Central Ohio for Coach Matta. I can distinctly remember standing in a drive through at the McDonald’s in Lancaster knocking on people’s windows and asking them to “vote Matta.” Some of them thought I was crazy. Others were afraid, but it was worth it. We thought Coach Matta could win, and we put our minds to it.
And you know what? He did win, generating a $100,000 donation to RMHC of Central Ohio. We were beyond excited. Then we got the phone call later that year that Coach Matta had again been selected as one of the top 48 coaches in the nation, would be in the Coaches’ Charity Challenge, and had selected RMHC of Central Ohio for the second year in a row. We knew it would take a huge community effort, but a repeat win for Coach was attainable. Once again, the community of Central Ohio stepped up and showed the nation that Columbus is the most generous community in the world. Another $100,000 donation to RMHC of Central Ohio on behalf of Coach Matta, making our running total $200,000.
So when we found out that Coach Matta was in the contest for a third year, and had selected our charity yet again, we all thought a three-peat was a long shot. However, that never stopped our community. We all redoubled our efforts, worked harder than ever before to help Coach Matta rise to the top, and once again, win the Coaches’ Charity Challenge. The three-peat was official, bringing our grand total from the contest to $300,000.
Needless to say, we love Coach Matta and the Buckeyes. How could you not? Coach is one of the most genuinely kind and thoughtful people we have ever met, and he cares deeply about not only success on the court, but off the court as well. We are proud to have him as our friend at the Ronald McDonald House.
Coach Matta, you are a true hero to our families. Thank you for your support. Columbus, you have really outdone yourselves. Way to go! We can’t thank you enough for your undying support of the families we serve.