The 6'5" NFL player entered the room quietly and immediately began to discuss the importance of his charity and the excitement leading up to the softball game at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
Watt, clearly in awe of how big this event has become, said,
I don't know if this ever entered my wildest dreams, so it's really cool. I think the coolest part for me is to see my teammates so excited about it, to see the fans interact with the teammates, and then also, obviously, to see the immense amount of money we raise for kids. I think it's incredible.
You'd think Watt would've chosen a charity event that was football-related, since he's become the face of the NFL in just a couple years, but there's a reason he picked softball.
We kind of settled on this because I wanted something that everybody would enjoy. I wanted something that the players would truly enjoy going to and look forward to. I wanted something that the fans could see us as players outside of our element but having fun. I think the first year really solidified for me that it was the right move --- when you see rally caps on guys' heads and literally 25-year-old millionaires looking like 6-year-olds in a ballpark, like that was the coolest thing ever to me.
Before he had to go, Watt made sure to leave behind some very important advice regarding middle school and becoming a "great" athlete.
I struggled, I think everybody struggles. I was good in some sports, I wasn't good in others. I think that you have to go through those ups and downs; that's what makes you a great athlete... Nobody's great all the time. Even today, I'm not great all the time. I go through my ups and downs... I think it's all abut how you handle adversity, how you fight through adversity and what you can do to make yourself better the next day. When you learn that, especially at a young age like middle school, it can really help you throughout life.
Since its creation, the JJ Watt Foundation has raised what JJ calls an "obscene amount of money" and has funded after-school athletic programs in over 250 schools in 21 states.