J.J. Watt hosts run-walk for foundation

Pewaukee native preparing for fourth NFL season

The pride of Pewaukee was back in his hometown this weekend.

Texans defensive end and former Badger J.J. Watt hosted his fourth annual run-walk event just a stone’s throw from his parent’s home.

“It’s pretty crazy. It’s one of those things as a kid, you always see athletes and celebrities doing things like this, and you always see on TV people with big events and everybody showing up and it’s really neat and a bit surreal for it to be my event,” Watt said.

Proceeds benefit the J.J. Watt Foundation, which supports after-school athletic programs at middle schools. He said he hopes the programs help kids follow his motto: Dream Big, Work Hard. In the process, he’s having plenty of fun of his own.

“We’re just sitting back in the staging area/green room where I sit in between things and we’re making up ‘minute to win it’ games and just having a little fun back there. I mean I’m literally just a big kid.”

That big kid said you can only find him in two places in Texas: his house or the stadium. He can’t go anywhere else because he’s so popular.

This will be Watt’s fourth year in the NFL. Somehow, the former defensive player of the year continues to dream big and work hard.

“I think it’s growing up here and growing up as a kid who obviously looked up to NFL players and saw the opportunity to hopefully one day go be that person, everybody’s coming for your job. If you’re not working everyday to get better, somebody else is.

“I made it here with hard work, I made it here by being dedicated to my craft and doing everything I can, so there’s no reason to change that. That’s all I know, and the better you get, the harder you have to work to stay there.”