The 2019 NFL Draft was the experience of a lifetime not just for the prospects, but also for two Texans fans.
When Eric Swiney and Tracine Benvin-Poti arrived in Nashville for this year’s NFL Draft, they were complete strangers. By the end of the week, one had gifted an extraordinary opportunity to the other in an unselfish act of kindness.
A resident of Washington State, Swiney’s dream was to attend the NFL Draft. Swiney, who suffered from hemi-cerebral palsy and hearing loss, cheered for the Texans because his dad (a Seahawks fan) lived in Houston and he simply felt connected to them.
He received his chance to see the Texans select their 2019 draft class when the Wishing Star Foundation granted his wish. Unable to play sports due to severe heart issues, he loved watching his Texans on Sundays and was inspired by their contributions in the community.
Living in Houston, Benvin-Poti was a loyal Texans season-ticket member. She had been selected for a VIP NFL Draft trip, courtesy of a Houston Texans fan giveaway. Benvin-Poti’s experience included meeting NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, former and current Texans players (such as DeAndre Hopkins) as well as attending Tim McGraw concert. She would also announce the Texans seventh-round (and final) draft selection on national television.
Seated together at the NFL Draft selection, Swiney and Benvin-Poti met and quickly bonded over their love for the Texans. Benvin-Poti, so impressed by “the amazing young man” she had just met, graciously offered Eric her opportunity to reveal the Texans draft pick. Eric accepted and announced on national television that the Houston Texans were drafting Texas A&M’s Cullen Gillaspia with the 220th overall pick.
“It just filled my heart with joy and pride to see him announce the Houston Texans 7th round draft pick,” Benvin-Poti said. “This was such a heartfelt moment that I was able to part of because of the Houston Texans and NFL. It was much more than just sitting and watching the players get picked but making new friends, bonding with the fans within our Texan fan base and just having fun so many diverse individuals.”
Their Texans spirit brought Swiney and Benvin-Poti together for an unforgettable experience in Nashville.
The Houston Texans surprised season ticket member, Tracine, with an extra special behind-the-scenes experience of the 2019 NFL Draft.