Yao Ming retired today, the Astros are in the midst of their worst season ever and the NFL lockout continues. But at least there's one glimmer of hope in Houston's pro sports scene.
Texans running back Arian Foster is nominated for three ESPYs tomorrow night, ESPN's fan-chosen accolades. Why should you care? Because Foster is the only athlete from Texas to be nominated and is up for more awards than any other NFL player. Your votes could help him win, thus bringing the slightest prestige to professional sports in Houston.
In all seriousness, the 2010 NFL rushing leader became a breakout star of the Texans' roster last year. He's up for Best NFL Player, Best Breakthrough Athlete and NFL Strongest Performance for his 231 yards and 3 touchdowns during last year's Opening Day game against the Indianapolis Colts.
"I hate to come out of nowhere because I've been working my whole life for this. I just try to play the game how it's supposed to be played," Foster told Hair Balls Friday afternoon just before his departure to L.A. for the awards ceremony.
The relatively young player, who studied philosophy in college and is an avid reader, said he's been spending the offseason doing light training, reading and exploring Houston. If the NFL lockout continues into fall and there are no games, he'll have plenty of time on his hands to do even more.
"I'm still working out, enjoying life a little bit. I'm interested in other things outside of football. Football is a part of what I do and a part of who I am, but it doesn't define me," he said. "I get into other cultures. I'm really into the Egyptian culture. I really like to read. I'm interested in other people's success stories, business, entrepreneurship. I just got done reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It's one of my favorite books."
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"I'm a homebody, but I do like to go out. I'm a curious eater. I like to try different things from different cultures. My favorite place to eat is Del Frisco's in the Galleria Mall," he said.
So does Foster have a campaign speech prepared?
"I find it a bit vain to ask for votes for an award so if I win, I win, if I don't, I don't. I just thank my fans for all their support for this and for my career," he said. "I believe that as human beings we are all equal, we're all one at the end of the day. We all breathe the same air. I'm not too much into myself."
Fans of Foster can vote for him until 11:59 p.m. July 9 at ESPN.go.com/ESPYS