For the first time since Hurricane Harvey, JJ Watt is bringing his softball Charity Classic back to Houston.
“It's an awesome event. It's so much fun for us to interact with the fans in a different way,” Watt says. “I think that's what's cool about it for me is seeing my teammates with the fans, seeing my teammates with each other. It's a chance to bond as a team, but it’s also a chance for us to bond with the fans who support us all year. My teammates take pictures and autographs with the fans, and they make it such a good time. And we're very competitive so it's a lot of fun for us because we actually really want to win.”
Tickets are still available for the event this weekend.
“Tickets start at $5 and go up from there. The one thing I wanted was to make sure families could come out, because obviously my charity is for middle school kids. I come from a family of five. I know what it's like to not be able to go to athletic events because they're so expensive. I told our team, I said ‘listen, I want to make tickets as low as possible, $5.’ And also the ticket sales go to the charity, too. So you're also doing good while coming to the game and supporting. That's one of the big things for me. I wanted people to make sure people didn't feel like they couldn't come because of financial reasons. Hopefully people can come out and join us.”
The event goes towards the foundation’s mission to provide funding for after-school athletic programs at middle schools across the country. People can go online and see what schools are benefitting from the charity.
“That's one big thing we wanted to do,” Watt say. “We wanted to show where it's going, what schools, what they were getting. It's been incredible to see the feedback from schools. We're going on eight or nine years doing this, which is crazy to think about. One of the best parts of it to me is that we're getting feedback from teachers at those schools who are saying that the students are doing better in school because they have sports to look forward to after school and the sport is teaching them work ethic and time management and discipline. So it was kind of an unintended consequence that's turned out to be cool.”
The Charity Classic on Saturday kicks off with the Home Run Derby at 6 p.m. and the game begins at 7 p.m. Find more information on the event and the charity on the Justin J. Watt Foundation website.