Fathers as Leaders …

Today in the Houston Chronicle sports section, two writers wrote uncoordinated stories about JJ Watt and his family.  One account covered JJ’s respect for his parents growing up, taking him to hockey and football practices, games and tournaments. He also talked about his dad’s expectation for him and his two brothers. “Every day before school, he’d tell us to be somebody today. He just didn’t want us to be kids who went to the motions every day. He wanted us to go to school and try to exceed in school. One is to be polite. He wanted us to, on athletic field, be the best we could be.”

It is evident that his parents also communicated the importance of humility and family values.  I witnessed that first-hand when our family attended a JJ Watt Foundation charity softball tournament earlier this spring where the Houston Texans offense and defense played against each other … in that one evening the JJ Watt Foundation grew by $640,000.

The other writer’s story posed an aspect of his personality that I had not paid attention to … his on-the-field prowess so dominated most stories.  At the conclusion of organized minicamp workouts this past Thursday, he addressed the team: “Guys, good is the enemy of great.  Never be satisfied with anything.  Never be happy with just good.  Every single day, you need to do something to make yourself better than everybody else.  That’s only way we’re going to improve.  We can’t be satisfied with just being good.  You can’t go to your workout every day and just go through the motions and be happy with what you’re doing.  Every single day, you need to be the best we can possibly be. That means when you’re on your own, when you’re back home, when you’re doing whatever workout you’re doing, you need to remember you’re part of this Texans team.  You represent the city of Houston, and you need to do every single thing you need to do to get yourself ready for training camp so that when this season comes, we’re ready to hit the ground running. That’s our style. We’re going to work our butts off to be a great team.”

After coach Bill O’Brien canceled the last day of minicamp Thursday, Watt, an admitted Schwarzenegger fan, organized a trip to a local theater for the Texans to see a special showing of the new film “Terminator Genisys”. 

In advance of Father’s Day, Watt reflected on the fact that he is able to wish him a happy birthday during camp and then be with him to celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday.  “to be able to share that with him is very, very special.  My dad was a firefighter of 28 years. He’d go to work every day and as a young kid, I didn’t really fully understand the danger he put himself in. I just thought I’m a little kid playing with my fire trucks and that’s all my dad did – he went and played with fire trucks.  What he’s instilled in my brothers and I – the mentality he’s put into us – everything we did, he want us to be the best we can be”.  The writer reflected “Watt knows he’s been blessed and how lucky he is to be able to share his experiences and his success with his father.

Happy Father’s Day!



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