(EXPERIENCE MAGAZINE) — SEPTEMBER 25, 2017 —Recently this site covered the importance of donations, specifically with regard to the horrific earthquakes that have recently struck Mexico. Donations to charities that can help victims, provide supplies, and even repair infrastructure really can go a long way, provided they’re given responsibly. And in this post we’re going to do a little bit of an update on another charitable effort concerning some of the other natural disasters that have befallen the Americas of late. Simply put, Houston Texans player JJ Watt’s efforts to assist his hometown after Hurricane Harvey have been remarkable.
If you follow football, you probably would have headed into the 2017 season without the Texans on your radar. Where Super Bowl contenders were concerned, the New England Patriots were clear favorites to scoop the title again, and the Texans were not really on the list of possible challengers. With regard to impact rookies, the teams to watch were the Jaguars (for running back Leonard Fournette), the Bears (for quarter back Mitch Trubisky) and the Panthers (for running back Christian McCaffrey), among a few others. And of teams expected to improve upon 2016 performances, the likes of the Giants and Chargers were popular picks. The Texans really didn’t register on preseason radar, even among fans, for any particular reason.
However, that was before Hurricane Harvey arrived and became one of the most devastating storms in recent memory for the U.S. The impact of the storm is already being forgotten a little bit, given that there have been multiple awful hurricanes since, not to mention the aforementioned earthquakes. But Harvey basically flooded an entire, major American city, and wiped out as many as 40,000 homes in the process. It’s not exactly why an NFL team wants to gain the spotlight – but it did prove that every now and then, professional sports and star athletes can be truly impactful on a community.
Texans star JJ Watt rose to the occasion. Initially setting very modest goals and attempting to simply do his part, he wound up being a hero for the city. Watt’s fundraiser, which received a great deal of publicity in the weeks after Harvey hit, wound up topping $37 million from over 200,000 individual donors. It’s an incredible achievement, and one that will make a very big difference for a lot of people facing one of the biggest challenges of their lives.
Watt is a bona fide star in the NFL, but this was not supposed to be a season in which he stole too many headlines. The way he wound up doing so is more valuable than anything he or his team could ever have done on the field, however. This is one of the best examples of an athlete’s devotion to a hometown we’ve ever seen, and it ought to give us all a boost in the wake of so much recent misfortune in this part of the world.