ATLANTA — Matt Stinchcomb painted a “U” and a “G” on a cornhole board sitting in the middle of The Zone at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta before offering to hand off the brush.
He cautioned fellow painters, kids enjoying the visit of three Georgia football legends Wednesday, not to use the orange or the blue paint. So, of course, someone did. One of the girls promptly added “UF” to the board.
Stinchcomb just shook his head.
“Just so you know, that was the practice cornhole board,” he said later.
His brother, Jon Stinchcomb, stuck to watching a couple of kids play foosball, and David Greene sat at a table putting stickers on a foam visor — which Matt Stinchcomb snapped a picture of him wearing for posterity.
All three Gwinnett grads, who went on to star for the Bulldogs and play in the NFL, were at Scottish Rite in advance of their foundation’s annual fundraising event. Dawgs for Kids, previously known as Countdown to Kickoff, benefits Children’s and the Georgia Transplant Foundation.
“We feel like we leave having received more than we ever could have given to the kids,” said Jon Stinchcomb, a Parkview product who played eight seasons in the NFL and won a Super Bowl with New Orleans in 2009. “To see the strength and attitudes by young folks that face some challenges, and to do so with a smile on their face, is so inspiring for us.
“Today is our highlight. We appreciate and love being around folks who are willing to raise money for kids, but there’s nothing better than being with kids. We got to play a kids game for a living for a while. To come over here and interact, do some arts and crafts or play foosball, there’s nothing better for us.”
The only thing that tops it is seeing the kids away from the hospital, which has been another reward of the trio’s annual visits to CHOA’s well-designed getaway space. The Zone has all kinds of games, from air hockey to Wii, along with art supplies and other toys for families staying at the hospital to use.
“Because as great of a job as they do here, and no one does it better, it’s far better to get to see them elsewhere,” said Matt Stinchcomb, who last year was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. “Over the years, you get to see that.”
He was more than happy to accept any challenge on games Wednesday.
“I’ve been absolutely slaughtered at foosball many times,” Matt Stinchcomb said with a grin. “I’m up for painting — or painting over.”
This is the 14th year for Dawgs for Kids, which in recent years was held at the College Football Hall of Fame. They decided to relocate it to The Stave Room at American Spirit Works on Armour Drive in Atlanta, partially due to the spontaneous touch football game that broke out last year.
“At the end of last year, we auctioned off some signed footballs and some of the patrons there were able to catch passes from David Greene, Eric Zeier, D.J. Shockley,” Jon Stinchcomb said. “Terrence Edwards was jamming them up on the line.
“They can still throw it — and Terrence Edwards is as competitive as ever — so it’s fun to watch. I think Eric Zeier was as into it as anybody else out there. It was a good time.”
They wanted to keep that going this year and make the event a bit more interactive.
“It’s like, next thing you knew, we were moving tables and chairs,” Matt Stinchcomb said. “People loved it. And this year will be more competitive.”
There also is pyramid trivia, cornhole, silent and live auctions, and a ton of food. The event is Aug. 10. Tickets, which are $100, and sponsorships are available.
“More than anything, it really puts things in perspective in life,” said Greene, a South Gwinnett grad who set an NCAA Division I record for wins with 42 during his career at Georgia. “Coming here and seeing some of the situations that the kids and families are in, yet they’re so grateful and have a glowing type spirit about them. We’re so blessed we have a hospital system here of this caliber.
“Matt and Jon kind of had the vision for this event, 14 years ago, and it’s been pretty neat that it’s stayed alive as long as it has. For me, it’s just rewarding to be able to be a part of their vision.”