WHAT: The ongoing love affair between all of the major Houston sports teams.
WHO: This week? The Astros.
WHY IT’S SO GREAT: It’s not unusual for pro sports teams in the same city to celebrate each other’s triumphs. They share fans, so it makes sense that they’d share in each other’s victories. When the Cubs won the World Series in 2016, the Chicago Bears had the team’s owner come out to a game with the trophy (it might have been the only moment worth celebrating for Bears fans that season). When the Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2017, the Celtics took it as motivation. But ever since J.J. Watt shared the heartfelt letter that José Altuve sent him thanking the Texans player for his support of Houston after Harvey during the Astros’ World Series run, there’s been a charming-as-heck bromance between the Houston sports teams that you rarely see in other cities.
The Astros, the Texans, and the Rockets all share more than just a city: like the New Orleans Saints post-Katrina, they’re playing for people who can take inspiration at a time when inspiration is (still) needed. This week, that bond showed itself when the defending World Series champion Astros made their road trip to play against the Angels in California decked out in Rockets gear.
This cross-sport camaraderie does happen elsewhere, but it’s particularly meaningful in Houston, which has long suffered when it comes to sports. The Astros are one of the more likable pro sports teams right now, J.J. Watt (who has strong opinions about James Harden’s MVP candidacy) is one of the most beloved athletes in the country, and the Rockets—whose leader has ice in his veins—bring a much-needed edge to the city’s constellation of sports stars. (Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, who’s still young in his career, is quickly earning his own candidacy for the Mount Rushmore of charming Houston athletes.) It’s easy to imagine any of the city’s three major pro teams winning a championship in the next twelve months–and that’s enough to shed the image of Houston as Misery City.
Winning begets winning, in other words, and all three teams are part of a process of redefining what it means to be a Houston athlete. In previous eras, those teams were defined by guys like David Carr, Lance Berkman, and Steve Francis. Now, though, they’re all competitive at the same time, and with stars like Harden, Altuve, and Watt being the face—but hardly the only superstars—on each team’s roster, the future is looking bright for all three teams. Of course they’d be fans of each other. They’re all so easy to root for.