J.J. Watt plays football. Football is televised. It is clear that one might see the two cross paths at some point. This, however, is within the confines of a football field, where there are a clear set of laws and behavioural rules which regulate how one might act. Real life is less rigid and doesn't follow the same structure that football does. Life isn't punctuated by 3-4 seconds of intense shoving followed by someone sustaining a head injury.
On occasion, J.J. Watt has been on television when he's not playing football. Needless to say, he struggles. He struggles to map out a world where he isn't chasing after a man holding an egg-shaped object covered in the skin of a dead animal. He is removed from what is familiar, placed in a world of the unfamiliar, blind and stumbling around looking for things to do until he is put back on a football field to chase after the egg-shaped object again.
Allow me to demonstrate what it is I am referring to. In this video of E:60's profile on J.J., we see a humble narrative of a boy who overcame his inability to throw a ball 5 yards sideways to become a star, beloved for his ability to tackle men who are carrying a ball. At around the 8:30 mark of this video, we see J.J.'s intense training routine, which involves tossing the stolen wheels of a cargo truck around a roomful of motivating slogans that have been pasted to every inch of the wall (maybe someone didn’t want to pay for an interior decorator...who knows). Admittedly, this isn't the most traditional workout routine, but who am I to second guess a man as successful as J.J.? If he got this far by tossing tyres about, then by all means, he shouldn't stop now.
It's at this point where things take a slight turn off the conventional path. We see a tight close-up on J.J.'s face as he is hunched over, clearly recovering from another intense session of tyre-tossing. A voiceover says, ''You gotta be a little messed up to be great''. Let us keep this comment in mind as we go forward.
Now J.J. is hunched over, muttering to himself about results and bare minimums. He then goes on to begin tyre-flipping while yelling, ''NOBODY DOES THIS S***!’’. Is this a primal exclamation of his own innovation in the field of tyre-flipping? Or is it an existential cry for answers as to why he's the only one flipping tyres? We cannot know. He continues, ''Let everyone else sleep, play video games, hit the club, f***........just work’’. There is a popular saying that in every thin person there is a fat person trying to get out. It's the soul attempting to seek balance, just like J.J. is doing here. He has lead a life of dedication to his craft and is considering what it might be like to not be so dedicated, to lead a lifestyle opposite from the one he lives now.
If we're honest, these questions and concerns about ourselves are usually debated internally, J.J., however, is unaware of social norms and instead has these debates in the middle of a gym, hunched over, with a camera in his face, while he grunts angrily. A logical person might watch that footage and simply wave it off as simply a degree of showmanship from being on television. I , however, would argue that in front of a camera that will broadcast your actions and words to millions is the precise wrong time to start talking to yourself and having a reflexive conversation about your choices in life.
Then again, how much perspective can we expect a man who is rewarded handsomely (a reward which I might add which is a blessing for the Texans' future cap structure) for tackling men wearing tights? It is possible that I might just be completely out of touch with what's cool these days; the next time I go to the gym, I might see someone next to me hop down off the treadmill, fall to one knee, whip out their phone and start recording themselves angrily questioning, '''WHY DID I TURN DOWN THAT INTERNSHIP?!?'' .
J.J.'s structure in the world comes through training. The world outside the football field is a terrifying one, filled with things that aren't men wearing tights and padding. In order to prepare for this JJ trains and trains. In this excerpt from the Houston Texans edition of "Hard Knocks," we see J.J. practice some simple evasion techniques from people who are not wearing pads. At around the 2:45 mark, we see him endlessly drilling the ''Stay away from me'' maneuver, where he deftly dodges mannequins of what he believes people who don’t wear padding to look like. He swats and pushes them away, using expert hand placement and technique. J.J. may not know much, but he knows nobody can touch his swim move.
Even his appearance on Jimmy Kimmel was punctuated by the fact that he mistakenly believed he was still on the football field, as he tackled everyone and then jumped over the host in order to escape him. If we're honest here, this kind of behaviour is a bit odd. Talking to yourself, flinging tyres around, coming up with new ways of evading people...it's not really normal. Yet the word "normal" is subjective, and J.J. Watt is a heck of a football player, so for as long as he continues to threaten the well-being of men carrying an egg-shaped ball in the name of the Houston Texans, he's alright in my book.
Just don't put him in front of a camera.