Who is Scratch?

Matt De Reno

That would be me, Scratch.

That would be me, Scratch.

If you poke around the website enough, you will probably discover that The Football Fan’s Diet is “A Site From Scratch”. Follow that link and you end up at Scratch Writing, Inc. which is owned and operated by yours truly, Matt De Reno.

I am not trying to hide behind the posting name “Scratch”. It is simply a handle for a lot of my creative endeavors—of which I consider The Football Fan’s Diet to be one.

Plus, I also have what the character Vic Vega in the film Reservoir Dogs would call a “job type job.” So If I used my real name for all the posts, then when potential business services clients do their searchin’ they see that Matt De Reno is this creative and technical content guy that has worked at IBM and Carnegie Mellon University, among other esteemed places. Mixing in the Football Fan’s Diet—kind of hard to do. So I don’t.

Therefore, on The Football Fan’s Diet, I am “Scratch.”

Scratch’s Background

Matt “Scratch” De Reno, born in Pittsburgh and raised in West View/Ross, is the primary author, creator and owner of The Football Fan’s Diet, which is the intellectual property of Scratch Writing, Inc. He posts by the handle “Scratch”" mostly to separate his professional technical writing from the work he does for The Football Fan’s Diet (Okay, we covered that already).

Let’s go back to where it all began for Scratch.

The Football Fan’s Diet was inspired in part by Matt’s recollection of the bygone halcyon days of the late 1980s when high school football mattered more than anything in the world.

At North Hills High School Matt was a sophomore on the fabled 1987 North Hills High School Varsity Football team that finished No. 1 in the nation by USA Today. That was a great team.

On that starting team of 11 players on offense, 7 were Division 1 recruits. Matt was NOT one of those players. In fact, he was more or less a punching bag on that legendary team. Still, being part of something that was the best across the entire nation, left in indelible impression upon Matt about the value of teamwork, striving for excellence, dedication to craft, and what it was like to be part of something truly special.

 Those years are now…

This sign is now immortalized at the    Senator John Heinz History Center    in downtown Pittsburgh, Pa.

This sign is now immortalized at the Senator John Heinz History Center in downtown Pittsburgh, Pa.

Glory Days

College marked a new era for Matt.

After graduating from North Hills High School in 1990, Matt attended Wheeling Jesuit University, after turning down lucrative football recruiting offers from Thiel College and Salem University.

Salem, it should be noted, promptly canceled its football program while it was in the process of recruiting Matt to play football. He ultimately choose Wheeling Jesuit University because they didn’t have a football team and therefore couldn’t cancel a program during his recruitment. So that was it for football.

Wait a second. They didn’t have football, but they had rugby.

Matt fell in with a hard Rugby gang and drank a whole lot of beer—for sport. Still in the back of his mind, he always loved, what LL Cool J would call “The Sport of Kings”—Football. He wrote for the campus newspaper, after being talked into it by his roommate, who was the editor.

Matt liked writing about sports.

4-years later he made it out of Wheeling Jesuit with a history degree.

After graduating from Wheeling Jesuit University, Matt began writing for the North Hills News Record, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on a freelance basis.

In the 1990s, he worked as a freelance writer for RealPittsburgh.com (now defunct). Highlights included actually hobnobbing with Mario Lemieux at a celebrity golf invitational.

True story: He took Mario’s youngest by the hand to go get Michael Jordan’s autograph. Later that night, he and his friend, had beers in the Nevillewood clubhouse with the man, the myth, a true legend—Mario.

Eventually Matt landed a job at Carnegie Mellon University as a technical writer and discovered he enjoyed designing and developing websites and writing about technology.

He soon designed and developed websites for a variety of clients that were steered his way. Notable independent ventures included AcrossRoss.com, a community website for the North Hills area of Pittsburgh, a city government in West Virginia, a smattering of elected officials, energy associations, law firms and others.

Today he is the managing partner of Scratch Writing, Inc. There he oversees two efforts, Business Services and Studios. The Football Fan’s Diet is the love child of the Studios.

Matt’s Personal Interests

Matt lives in Ross Township with wife Monika and children Izabella and Sam. Besides The Football Fan’s Diet, Matt is passionately trying to publish a techno-thriller novel, The Midas Protocol. Between reading rejection slips, you can expect to find him posting here as Scratch. Now for some entertainment…

The Sport of Kings - Football

“It’s the sport of kings, better than diamond rings, that’s why we’re here to say… football.”
—LL Cool J.

Starring Woody Harrelson, James Keach, Wesley Snipes, Swoosie Kurtz

Editor’s Picks

Here are some of Scratch’s favorite articles published on The Football Fan’s Diet.


Would you like to invite Matt to be guest blogger, radio or podcast guest?