JJ Watt is a hero off the field as well

J.J. Watt is a hero.

The defensive end for the Houston Texans doesn’t go on political rants after a tragedy.

He doesn’t settle for wearing a ribbon.

When disaster strikes, he doesn’t type out one word tweets about how This. Has. To. Stop.

Instead, J.J. Watt finds out where the hurting people are and does what he can to help them. That's what heroes do.

Last week, pain came to Texas after a gunman opened fire and killed ten people at Santa Fe High School. Nine of those people were students. While everyone else did what they always do after such a tragedy, J.J. Watt decided to do something different. He will pay for the funerals of the ten people who were killed in the shooting.

Because J.J. Watt is a hero.

The Houston area hasn’t been immune to tragedies as of late. In August, Hurricane Harvey swept through and left a lot of water in places where it didn’t need to be. People were hurting then too. Watt didn’t use the occasion to tear into one political party or the other. He didn’t pontificate about the complexities of changes in the climate. Once again, he just found the hurting people and did what he could do to help them. When it was all said and done, Watt raised over $37 million for flood relief efforts.

J.J. Watt is a hero.

The term hero gets used a lot, especially in regards to athletes who are as gifted as Watt. But J.J. Watt isn’t a hero because of what he does on the field for the Houston Texans. That’s the funny thing about sports. We use words like hero to label great players but, with he exception of the most die-hard fans, we forget about most of their great plays within a year or two.

Heroics on the field are often forgotten.

Heroics off the field have a way of sticking with us. They are etched in our minds to remind us that life is bigger than a game and that the athletes who play the game are more than just pixels.
JJ is a man respected by his peers and by his fans because he does what is right in a selfless manner.  I have followed him as a player and have always been impressed by his extraordinary talents, but his off the field activities will also stand out.  He wears number 99 for the Texans, but there have already been suggestions that the Grand Parkway outer loop around Houston which is also designated as highway 99 be renamed the JJ Watt Parkway.


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