The proud city of Houston is suffering. Homes continue to be lost, lives altered, and some tragically lost. And yet, somehow, life must go on. With that in mind, the Texans will continue to train as they prepare for the 2017 season, and will go ahead with their scheduled preseason matchup against the Cowboys this Thursday. However, there have been some changes.
After both New Orleans and Dallas offered the Texans a location to train, Houston opted to return to the lone star state and train at the Cowboys' state-of-the-art indoor facility. Furthermore, it has been announced that the game this Thursday will be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, as opposed to the NRG Stadium in Houston.
Disaster brings out the best in people
The ongoing disaster in southern Texas has prompted many locals, businesses, and now football teams alike to offer to help in any way possible. Many have traveled to the area to help rescue others with their pickups and boats. Others have offered shelter to those in need. While the Texans owner Bob McNair has announced that the Texans will donate $1 million to the United Way of Greater Houston Flood Relief Fund, with the NFL foundation following this by announcing that they will match the Texans' donation as well.
It's not only the teams as a whole that have acted, with Dallas and New Orleans offering the Texans a home, players have also come forward in support of their fellow Houstonians, with the LB Brian Cushing and QB Deshaun Watson just a couple of examples.
Perhaps the best example of just how affected players have been by the events in Texas would be the action taken by star defensive end J. J. Watt. In the wake of the disaster, he set up a fundraising campaign which is on its way to hitting his target of $1 million, as well as donating $100,000 of his own money to the cause.
Directly affecting the Texans
Head coach Bill O'Brien addressed the media today, answering questions on their current situation as it relates to the Hurricane, and one thing was made very clear: the Texans' staff and players have also been hit hard. While he stated that all players are thankfully accounted for, coach O'Brien did have the following to say about their situations:
We have players that are dealing with water in their homes. We have three coaches that are in neighborhoods where there’s mandatory evacuations, (a) couple of coaches that are in neighborhoods where there’s voluntary evacuations, players the same thing. (We’re) trying to do the best we can to keep everybody together.
Long term impact
Ultimately, only time will tell exactly how much damage is done to the city itself, and therefore how their season could be impacted, whether that implies moving training elsewhere for a longer period or otherwise.
What is for certain, however, is that if this disaster has done one thing, it has unified the city and its football team alike. Coach O'Brien said to the media that:
We’re going to play for the City of Houston. We realize how important football is in the City of Houston. We realize how bad the people in Houston want a winning football team and we feel like maybe if we can go out there and win some ball games and play the way we know we’re capable of playing, maybe that lifts some people’s spirits here as they recover from this tough disaster.
This sentiment was echoed superbly by Watt who stated:
This is much bigger and much more important than football. There’s no question about that. But, if on Sundays this fall we can take people’s minds off of the situation for a couple hours, if we can put a smile on people’s faces for a couple of hours and be a distraction away from everything that’s going on, we’ll gladly do that, and we’ll do our absolute best to make sure that we give the people the best show possible.
While something as trivial as a football seems unimportant at times like these, it is exactly times like these that they are vital. Because ultimately, if football is good at one thing, it's taking them away from their everyday lives, even if only for a few hours. And at a time like this, that may be exactly what those affected need.
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