By all means, take the stance saying JJ Watt did this only for personal and selfish reasons. The guy at least gets the “glass half full” from these parts until proven otherwise.
Last week, Houston’s KHOU-TV aired a special about Cristian Beasley, a brave 12-year-old young man taking the fight to leukemia. Unable to attend sixth grade physically due to his condition, and as one of 34 kids nationwide, Beasley does so virtually with the help of a robot, “Watt.” The ‘bot was named after Cristian’s favorite football player and reigning Defensive Player of the Year, J.J. Watt.
Upon immediately becoming aware of the news clip, the human Watt concocted a plan to surprise his young fan in what proved to be an all-around ecstatic and emotional meeting. Cristian was in class, going about his routine of a normal day in home-school when suddenly the 2012 NFL All-Pro surprised him in his room. The only words he was able to utter? “Oh, my God,” he said in his Texans #99 jersey and skully. The two spent the next several hours chopping it up, laughing, playing catch and doing things a wide-eyed pre-teenager would do given the chance to meet their idol for a day.
There’s no way to diagnose the situation other than by saying J.J. Watt gets “it.” And by “it,” I mean the power of celebrity. The power of influence. The power of realizing there’s more to life than pass rushing and Pro Bowls. Whether this falls in the top 50 moments of J.J.’s life isn’t the story because it will rank near the top of Cristian’s; if not the top. Being an individual of influence is all too often misconstrued and misrepresented by the public and the athletes/entertainers we subconsciously label demigods. Sometimes life isn’t about the moments we deem grand, but the moments we help make life worth living for others.
This isn’t a new phenomena for Watt, either. In January, there was the touching moment when he “proposed” to an adorable six-year-old fan because her only wish was to marry the lovable quarterback slayer. The story got even better upon learning he gave her a white #99 Texans jersey as her “wedding dress” and their first dance was to her favorite artist, of course, Justin Bieber. Only weeks later in February, Watt surprised a newlywed couple who had their wedding cake molded after him. Then, a month later, he and five fellow NFL’ers including Steve Smith and Champ Bailey were seen spending time with troops in the Middle East. And just last month held the unveiling of the J.J. Watt Charity Classic through his foundation which provides after-school activities in athletics for kids.
Watt’s currently batting 1.000 in 2013 in monthly acts of kindness, which may or may not influence Super Bowl karma heading into next season. It’s also no surprise the CBS affiliate in H-Town referred to their perennial All-Pro and MVP candidate as “The New Face of Houston.” Based off philanthropical endeavors, however, they may be shortchanging him. He’s more like the Robin Hood of the NFL at this point.
To reiterate the logic from earlier, too, Watt gets the benefit of the doubt until he unknowingly has a Mitt Romney-like moment and finds himself on Vine drunk in a Houston bar saying everything was a hoax. That and there needs to be more stories of this ilk spread in not only the NFL (because there are, Watt’s just a shining example), but all sports; especially when the Titus Young’s, mounting concussion issues, the Sam Hurd’s and Jovan Belcher murder-suicide tragedies of the football world dominate headlines.
As a public, we constantly complain about the negative aspects of society and how people as a whole appear hellbent on destroying one another. And in a sense, there’s no denying the validity in such a statement. Yet, the same way it’s easier to find the unfavorable characteristics in a person or event, finding the good speaks louder volumes. In Watt’s case, at least thus far, it shows not every athlete is a pompous asshole caring only about themselves. It shows while we marvel at their God-given talents, they frequently marvel at our ability to make each day better than the previous sans endorsements, eight figure contracts and fancy benefit packages. It shows there’s some “regular joe” in all of us.
And not to be forgotten, one time for Cristian Beasley and everyone not allowing cancer, heart disease, AIDS and any life threatening ailment to be the man theme of their life’s book. That commitment takes more heart than a game winning touchdown, jump shot or putt could ever require. Continue using moments such as these as a reminder life is about living, not counting down the days left.
Now, on a lighter note, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go cry in the car as J.J. Watt serves as an eternal reminder of who the Dallas Cowboys could’ve taken in the 2011 draft. Tyron Smith is a damn good player, but every time I’m reminded the defensive line could’ve consisted of Jay Ratliff, J.J. Watt and DeMarcus Ware, I break out into a petrified Carlton Banks without fail. Or when Will found his mom in bed with James Evans. Both pains are accurate.
Bonus: In the event this slipped under the radar last December, JJ did this, too.