Matty Ice! Matty Ice!
The Matt Ryan OPC '03 pep rally may have been the shortest, loudest and peppiest rally in PC history. And, with a sea of waving, yellow and blue rally towels, the most colorful.
Dismissed from class or lunch at 12:10, students in grades K to 12 packed the bleachers by 12:20. (The little folks in pre-K celebrated separately.) Teachers, parents and staff stood deep along the edges. There was nothing to stop the band from playing as loud as they could: The field house reverberated with cheers and the sounds of the speedy version of the alma mater and "Gonna Fly Now" from Rocky.
Head of School Darryl J. Ford welcomed the crowd, sports commentator and PC parent Michael Barkann revved them, and mathematics teacher Brian McCloskey, Ryan's PC football coach, shared Matt's own words about what being a member of the PC team meant to him. Ford announced that the school and an OPC were sending McCloskey to the Super Bowl with a ticket reserved by the Ryan family.
In 2006, when Matt Ryan was a starting quarterback for Boston College, McCloskey said, he sent an email to the PC football team to inspire the players before a big game with Chestnut Hill Academy (now SCH).
Matt wrote: “I can never go back and throw on the gold helmets, blue jerseys and gold pants … but you have an unbelievable opportunity to shape your future memories. … My one little piece of advice would be to enjoy every minute of your season. There is nothing like high school football and more specifically Penn Charter football. It is such an awesome experience ... and you really don't realize how great it is until you're finished and you look back on the memories that you have.”
Matt wrote that he remembered lots of practices when his eyes strayed to the clock tower to see if it was six o’clock
and time to quit. But he remained focused. Although he was speaking about football, McCloskey said, his advice applies to so many endeavors on and off the field.
“Stay committed to the goals that you have set as a team," Matt wrote. "Keep those goals in mind every day and, when you head out to the practice field, work hard.
“There's no question in my mind that you will have success because there is no doubt in my mind that you areworking harder .... One thing I've learned through my time at Penn Charter is that one way to make sure you give yourself a chance to succeed is to work harder than your opponent.
“So play with passion, play with toughness, and be relentless, and success will come your way.
“You guys make plenty of OPCs very proud."
Matt Ryan OPC '03 has been in the media spotlight since he led the Atlanta Falcons to an NFC championship and a Super Bowl berth. The sports coverage is all over the Internet, but here are quick links to coverage about Matt at Penn Charter, as told by his teammates, coaches, teachers and family.
The New York Times profiled Matt in the lead-up to the NFC Championship:
Falcons' Matt Ryan Stays Under the Radar Even as He Flies High by Bill Pennington
And then the Times followed up with Before Ryan's Ascent, a Quiet Grounding in the Quaker Way.
Sports Illustrated Monday Morning Quarterback is on the #RoadtoHouston and stopped in at PC:
Matt Ryan Is Old School, by Jenny Vrentas
A Nor'easter, Quaker meeting and Cheesesteaks, by Kalyn Kahler
When Matt Ryan was a 6'5" Triple-Option QB (video content)
Wall Street Journal chronicles the Revenge of the Quarterback Nerd.
ESPN chatted with Matt's OPC teammates about the origins of his nickname:
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Matt and his PC teammates:
Matt Ryan was always team-first, Penn Charter mates say, by Zach Berman
More from the Philadelphia Inquirer, Matt Ryan remains connected to Penn Charter:
Penn Charter Has Rooting Interest in Falcons' Matt Ryan, by Ed Barkowitz
Philadelphia Magazine posted a brief story on Matt:
Philly-Area Man Has Chance to Take Down Patriots in Super Bowl, by Dan McQuade
ESPN: Matt Ryan's National Signing Day
A CBS3: Matt Ryan Quietly Putting Together HOF Career by Andrew Porter (with video)
PHL17: Morning Show and Matt Alba