Most children dream of hanging out with professional football players. On Tuesday, four Texans made that dream come true for a group of Houston-area children.
Running back Ahman Green, safety Jason Simmons, defensive end Earl Cochran and guard Scott Jackson hosted a lunch at Amazon Grill for 30 students from Turner Elementary School, which is located in Third Ward.
"During the holiday season, you want to give your time and it's especially fun to give back to the kids," Jackson said.
The elementary students couldn't have had more fun with the players. When the children walked into the restaurant, they found Texans Cheerleaders and players greeting them with team paraphernalia.
"It was very enormously great," said Jacquelyn, a Turner student.
The players provided each child with a new backpack and art supplies and helped the children construct holiday art projects.
There were also team games, such as pin the star on the Christmas tree. Players blindfolded the students and spun them around before the children tried to tape stars to a tree made out of construction paper.
Getting a spin from a Texan certainly made the students' highlights reels.
"We are playing a game called pin a star on the Christmas tree and the players are spinning us," Jacquelyn said. "It's one of the best days of my life."
After the games, the group stopped for lunch, courtesy of the team, and the students got to learn more about the Texans. The players said they were having just as much as the children.
"We love it," Jackson said. "They don't care if you are winning or losing or how you're playing. They're just excited to see you. You remember how you were as a kid – your heroes and who you looked up to. I wish I could have met a professional athlete as a kid. You can tell it means a lot to them."
"Lunch with the Texans" is one of the many community events sponsored by the team during the holiday season. The Texans held seven different community events on Tuesday, including Andre Johnson's holiday shopping spree for youths from Children Protective Services.
Players such a Johnson, Green, Cochran, Simmons and Jackson said reaching out to the community is what makes their jobs special.
"Getting a chance to do this with them – eat lunch, play games, sign autographs and answer questions – it's important," Green said. "It's also an easy and fun way to put big smiles on their faces."
Smiling children and giving players, that's what the holiday spirit is all about for the Texans.