That was one of the many questions former Ohio State wide receiver Roy Hall asked me when I sat down to interview him at an Easton restaurant last month.
Hall, who caught 52 passes for 580 yards and three touchdowns at Ohio State from 2003-06, was asking the question in a way of explaining the origins of the DRIVEN Foundation, the non-profit organization founded by the receiver along with fellow former Buckeye Anotonio Smith. The organization is the jack-of-all-trades of the non-profit world – or the “Evan Spencer of nonprofit organizations that can do a lot of different things,” according to Hall – but the basis lies in motivation.
“So when you really start thinking about what drives me to wake up every morning and go to work, is it my paycheck? It shouldn’t be, because somebody is going to offer you more money someday,” Hall said. “Now you’re just doing it for the money, which ultimately impacts you. But if it’s, ‘I’m doing this for my wife, my children, I’m doing this for the families that can’t afford to do it because I want to take a portion of my paycheck and donate it to an organization that is making an impact,’ 0nw you have a reason to go beyond yourself. You’re connected to something bigger than yourself. That’s what the buy in is.”
The organization was founded in 2008, beginning, unsurprisingly, with football. Smith and Hall hosted a camp while the later was still playing for the Indianapolis Colts. They brought in various former players to speak on issues outside football, something that struck a chord with parents. When it was all said and done a parent came up to Hall and asked what else the pair of former Buckeyes did with the organization.
At the time, the answer was nothing so Hall got to work. Seven years later, DRIVEN does so much more than football with programs including motivational speaking, birthday bashes for underprivileged or sick children, back to school support programs and a food outreach program that has distributed over 450,000 pounds of food to families in need.
Hall said he can’t pick a favorite program, he’s too proud of the entire body of work and too focused on finding what’s next.
That’s the biggest takeaway from a sit-down with Hall – his relentless motivation. Whether it’s his work with the foundation or his continued workout regimen that has him looking like he is ready to step back on the field right now, Hall is driven.
So what is it that motivates Hall?
“A lot of that goes in to how Antonio and I were raised, fatherless homes,” Hall said. “My father was a heroin addict. Growing up without certain finances and without being afforded certain opportunities – I didn’t even start playing organized football until I was in eighth grade because we couldn’t afford it. When you get older and in a position to use what you have to help somebody else, you can identify with the things that people are going through.”
And as it turns out you can help others find something to motivate them too.