by Rob Joyce
One of the best things about sports is the tight-knit community. Rivalries and events on the field take a back seat when tragedy strikes, and everyone comes together when needed most. Right now, Houston and its surrounding area is in need of that relief as the inundation from Hurricane Harvey continues to cause unfathomable damage.
The energy it will take to save lives and rebuild billions of dollars’ worth of damage will take years, but those efforts are already underway, whether it is by good Samaritans driving around on boats, or those raising as much money as possible to help the cause. These players, coaches and organizations, in particular, are among those who have set up notable roots for aid:
JJ Watt: The Texans’ defensive standout started an account with YouCaring by donating $100,000 to relief efforts, with the goal of raising $200,000. It was accomplished within hours, so the bar raised to $500,000. Chris Paul’s $50,000 donation helped surpass that number, so $1 million became the challenge. As of Tuesday morning over 15 thousand people have combined to raise over $1.2 million for the flood relief fund.
Kelvin Sampson: The head basketball coach at the University of Houston, Sampson put out a challenge to every men’s and women’s coach at every level – Division I, II and III, as well as NAIA, JuCo and high school. If they would donate 20 shirts and 10 pairs of shoes and send them to the Cougars’ basketball offices, Sampson and his staff will send them to various charitable organizations assisting in the relief efforts.
Doing some quick math, there are about 3,000 men’s and women’s college basketball teams across all levels. That equates to 60 thousand shirts and 30 thousand pairs of shoes. Add in the estimated 36 thousand high school basketball teams across the country, and now you’re up to hundreds of thousands of articles of clothing that would all be put to good use.
Houston sports owners: Houston mayor Sylvester Turner started the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, and immediately the area sports teams started the aid on the right note. Rockets’ owner Leslie Alexander donated $4 million, which the Astros’ ownership group – headed by Jim Crane – matched.
Meanwhile the Texans and their owner, Bob McNair, donated $1 million to the United Way of Great Houston Flood Relief Fund, a number matched by the NFL Foundation and Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft.
Matt Carpenter: The St. Louis Cardinals’ infielder is a Houston-area native, and though he’s not known as a big home run hitter, he has a little extra motivation. He’s pledged that for every home run he hits for the rest of the season, he’ll donate $10,000 to the relief effort. His teammate, Adam Wainwright, agreed to match that, making it $20,000 for every round tripper Carpenter hits.
Jerry Hughes: Another Houston-area native, the Bills’ defensive end has accumulated 31 sacks in his four seasons in Buffalo. Now those takedowns will mean a little bit more for the 29-year-old. He’s donating a base of $25,000 to the relief efforts, but that total will rise by $5,000 for each sack he racks up this season.
If you want to get involved in relief efforts for those affected by Harvey, Click Here to find some of the best ways to help.