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Players spread cheer at Methodist


What combines a limbo line, a dance off, Santa Claus suits and the Texans? It's Methodist Hospital's annual Pigskin Challenge, an event that entertains patients, hospital staff and players alike.

For seven consecutive years, the Texans have visited Methodist to participate in games with employees and spread holiday cheer throughout the hospital. And each year, it's hard to figure out who is having the most fun.

Kicker Kris Brown, running back Steve Slaton, wide receiver Kevin Walter and guard Chester Pitts began the festivities by introducing themselves to the hundreds of Methodist employees surrounding a stage in the lobby of the hospital. The players then grabbed willing onlookers to participate in a heated game of musical chairs.

After that, there were relay games and limbo lines. But the highlight of the day was the dance contest that paired each player with a partner from Methodist.

Pitts and Slaton were the clear leaders in the first round, breaking out smooth moves to disco tunes and oldies.

But the dance off belonged to Slaton. The rookie brought out break dancing moves and the worm, which brought the crowd to its feet.

"It's not fair, a 220-pound running back against an offensive lineman," Pitts said. "I felt like I performed fairly well. I came out to perform. I was ready. I was prepared. But when he did the jump in the air and the worm, there was absolutely no competition. There was nothing I could do to complete with that."

Slaton, who ranks third in the AFC in rushing with 1,124 yards, said his good footwork on the field definitely translated to the dance floor.

"Being a running back, you have to have a little bit of rhythm," he said. "It was a chance to showcase it."

The players finished the day by spending time with patients in the hospital.

"That was obviously the best part, just giving a little time," Pitts said. "Sometimes people feel like it's a tough road ahead and they have a huge hurdle to overcome. Just going and making them smile and making their day a little bit brighter, sometimes that helps."

Despite being proud of his dance-off victory, Slaton was much more satisfied by getting to visit the patient.

"It's a positive to see the people in the hospital and give them a ray of hope," he said. "Some of them are fans, so they are really excited. And it feels good to help bring a smile to their faces."

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