With March Madness taking place and spring sports in full swing, this time of year provides plenty of exciting competition. With that said, we’ve had quite the competition of our own taking place here at the Deacon Club between a couple of our volunteers.
Todd Lynch (’98) and Anthony Tang (’11), members of our Athletic Advisory Council (AAC), are two great examples of committed volunteers. Both Wake Forest alums and diehard Deacon fans, one was a former student-athlete and the other currently works for the University. So, what would happen if two volunteers as passionate as these guys entered a friendly competition to benefit the Deacon Club?
Well, it all started on February 9 when Todd ran into Gerard McMahon, one of our Deacon Club staff members, at the gym. Gerard simply asked Todd if he would be willing to write a few extra thank you cards, which is a common practice for many of our volunteers. Todd gladly agreed to do so, not knowing what would transpire over the next several hours.
Later that day, completely by chance, Anthony had a meeting over at the Deacon Club and heard that Todd was going to write some extra thank you cards. “They said Todd was going to do 10 more cards, so I said that I would write 11,” Anthony stated in a joking manner. Todd was then looped into the conversation via a text message from Anthony.
It went back and forth in a comical manner for a while, before the two truly turned this simple task into a competition. It was ultimately decided that they would each write as many cards as possible by the Friday before the men’s basketball game versus Virginia Tech. To officially be counted in their tally, all cards had to be turned in to the Deacon Club office by Friday, March 3 at 5 p.m. Adding to the competitive nature of the challenge, they weren’t allowed to know how many cards the other had written until they met up to watch the game on March 4.
“A few days later, I came into the Deacon Club office to pick up a stack of cards and they brought out a whole box. I thought that amount was crazy, but I just reached my hand in and grabbed as many as I could,” Todd said. After realizing that he grabbed over 200 cards, Todd asked, “Did Anthony take this many?!” Playing into the fun, the staff assured him that they both took approximately the same amount. Once both men had their stack of cards, the real competition began.
Both Anthony and Todd, started off with a goal of writing 200 thank you cards. Once it was determined that Todd had grabbed exactly 240 cards, that became the new goal.
Whether it was writing cards at a basketball game or the kids’ guitar lessons, both men put forth an impressive effort, aiming to outdo the other. As they did so, Anthony and Todd had a text message thread that they would post in on a daily basis throughout the entirety of their head-to-head battle. This thread, which acted as a fun catalyst to the competition, was full of trash talk, pictures of the various writing locations, GIFs and even a couple of serious ideas. Proving that there was never a dull moment, some of this banter even found its way onto Twitter.
Towards the end of the competition, a joke surfaced about a third mystery person partaking in the challenge. “I was in on the joke about a third person being involved, but Anthony had no idea,” Todd laughed.
Determined to win, Anthony didn’t want to take any chances. “I was getting so worked up about the thought of a third person participating and potentially beating me. At that point, I bumped my goal from 240 to 500.”
“We started this just because it was a fun little contest, but once we hit the last week, it got really serious. I wrote 94 in one night,” Anthony said. “I was taking the cards with me everywhere those last few days.”
In the end, a total of 740 thank you cards were written, with Anthony and Todd each achieving the individual goal they set for themselves (Anthony – 500, Todd – 240). “We got carried away and had a great time doing it,” both men joked.
While this whole thing began as a friendly competition, it is truly amazing to see how it evolved over a short period of time. Looking back on it now, there’s a much greater message to be shared about the power of volunteerism. Not only can getting involved help build meaningful relationships, it gives you the power to truly make an impact on something you’re passionate about.
Sharing why he chose to become a volunteer, Todd stated, “I’ve been a Wake fan my whole life. For me, it’s just something I want to help with in whatever way I can. We all want to give money to the extent we can, but there are other ways we can help, as well.” Anthony added, “If you love something, you do everything you can to make it better. I think that’s how Todd and I both feel.”
Anthony and Todd first met each other at an AAC meeting a couple years ago. While they became friends over time, this experience helped them bond in a completely different way. As Todd said, “This competition has taken our friendship to a whole new level and it’s something we’ll be talking about for a long time.” In addition, both men admit that getting involved with the Deacon Club has allowed them to meet and interact with other individuals who are just as invested in Wake Forest Athletics, which has made going to games an even more enjoyable experience.
“You never know the impact you can make as a volunteer. Every little bit counts. Todd and I didn’t raise the money, but simply writing these thank you notes makes a big impact,” Anthony stated.
Open to the idea of future volunteer-based competitions, Anthony and Todd, or T2 as they’ve already named themselves, may even team up to take on any challengers, so stay tuned!
If you are interested in becoming more involved with the Deacon Club as a volunteer or would like more information, give us a call at 336.758.5626 or send an email to DeacClub@wfu.edu.