This week's spotlight is shed on Matt DiGiacomo. Football has always been right up Matt's alley, but he has come to discover there's more to learn than just the x's and o's of the game.
Name: Matt DiGiacomo
I am from Canton and went to McKinley High School (located next door to the Hall of Fame).
Favorite NFL team: It's got to be the Denver Broncos, because I know Josh McDaniels personally. When I was about 9 years old, I was in the hospital and Thom McDaniels (Josh's dad) came to visit me. He gave me the game ball for the McKinley-Massillon game to guard until kickoff. Josh was quarterback during that time and that's how I got to know him over the years.
Favorite current NFL player: Tim Tebow—he's such a fiery competitor and such a leader. The intensity he shows on the field and the way he leads the team is what I like about him.
Favorite enshrinee: Jim Kelly because he understands the walk of life. During his enshrinement speech, he talked about his son who had an illness. It was very moving because Kelly understands it's not all about him; it's about the other people who got him where he is today. I actually got to meet Jim Kelly's dad, and he wanted my autograph! He told me it would mean a lot to him and to always make sure I keep God in my life, not just on Sundays.
Why did you decide to volunteer at the Hall of Fame? I like football and wanted a chance to walk with greatness and be a part of history. I love being a part of special events and wanted to be involved in Enshrinement Week. Plus, I like helping people.
How long have you been volunteering at the Hall of Fame? Four years.
What's your favorite artifact on display? My favorite display would have to be the Super Bowl rings. I like to see how much fancier they get year to year. I am amazed by just how big they are and how much you can fit onto one ring.
Your favorite memory of an NFL game: It was a game between the Cleveland Browns and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Browns were fighting for the postseason spot and the Jaguars wanted to challenge a call. The Jaguars ended up challenging it in time before the Browns got the snap in. The challenge ended up ruling in the Jaguars favor and the Browns fans weren't too happy. They were yelling and throwing all sorts of things onto the field. That game showed me how passionate the Browns' fans are.
The most distant traveler you've greeted:
I met someone from Australia—I can still remember the accent. I also had a chance to meet the football teams that played in the 2009 Jr. World Championship when they visited the Hall of Fame, which was pretty cool. The teams came from Canada, Germany, the United States, Sweden, France, Japan, New Zealand, and Mexico.
The most unusual question you've been asked by a guest: Does the losing team get a Super Bowl ring, too?
Most famous person you've met: Michael Irvin; he's a good guy. I was working at the time and an intern snapped some pictures of us. Michael told me to make a difference and to always stay humble. It was a very cool experience because I grew up watching him play.
Most memorable moment as a volunteer: It's always Enshrinement Week because you meet so many people from all around the country and enshrinees, too. That's something I never thought I'd be able to do.
Favorite NFL mascot: The Barrel Man (aka Tim McKernan) from the Broncos. Even though he was an "unofficial" mascot, he showed up to every game wearing nothing but a barrel, cowboy boots and a cowboy hat. That's a true fan because it can get pretty cold in Denver. (Editor's note: McKernan died in December, 2009)
Favorite NFL rivalry: The Browns versus the Steelers, because it's two towns, which aren't too far away, that hate each other. It doesn't matter what year it is or what either team's record is, the game's intensity is always great.
Matt's dream job: It is my dream to coach high school football at McKinley some day. If I ever had the opportunity to coach there, I'd take it in a heartbeat.
Did you know? I am a sophomore at Kent State University at Stark majoring in sports administration and I have coached at different basketball camps and in youth leagues.
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