Sometimes it takes a tragedy to bring out the best in people and organisations. The storms and flooding that hit Houston at the end of August devastated a whole region. The images we saw around the world were of houses destroyed, people using make shift rafts to rescue others, and livelihoods were quite literally swept away.
Houston has a population of around 2.3 million, making it America’s fourth most populated city. The government sent aid and assistance, but it was the region’s sports stars who acted as the main catalyst in securing funding and help people start to rebuild their lives which had been destroyed through natural disaster.
JJ Watt the superstar defensive end of the Houston Texans, often nicknamed Captain America, created the JJ Watt foundation to help with the relief for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Initially JJ Watt targeted $200,000, this was achieved in two hours. The foundation has now raised over $27 million, absolutely astonishing. Clearly JJ Watt has an advantage in being the face of the NFL, the most popular sport in America, but still this is a quite remarkable achievement. Whilst not as significant in actual numbers, just as significant are the efforts of Houston Dynamo, Houston Dash, and the Houston Astros.
The Houston Dynamo, Dash, and MLS have pledged $1,000,000 to relief efforts. This is seriously impressive – they may not have the star power of JJ Watt but they are doing their bit to help their community. The Houston Astros, the MLB team in Houston is pledging $4,000,000 to help the relief efforts in Houston. Both the Dynamo and Astros are currently involved in a battle to win major titles. The Astros are in the World Series against the LA Dodgers and the Dynamo are about to face the Portland Timbers in the MLS conference semi-finals. Sport is giving this community hope and bringing people together.
Sport has a way of doing this. There are many examples throughout history of sports teams helping their city through tough times by success on the field. After the Boston marathon bombings the Boston Red Sox won the World Series. Not long after Hurricane Katrina the New Orleans Saints captured the Super Bowl and after the 9/11 attacks the Patriots won the Super Bowl that year. I don’t think it is wrong to say that the majority of neutrals are hoping that the Dynamo and Astros become champions of their respective sports. The organisations in the city have responded fantastically well to the disaster, a ring or trophy is the least the city and organisations deserve.