Yesterday I shared the talk I had with Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson. Through covering such a range of topics, I split the interview into two separate articles. It was almost nine minutes long, spanning nearly 1,900 words. Here is the first half, in which Ben talks about his charity, “One More Foundation”, his character and his second book, The New Dad’s Playbook: Gearing up for the biggest game of your life.
*Here is a link to the second half of the interview, as this was split into two parts.
Kyle Barber — One of the cool things with the Ravens media guide every single year is not only stats and information about the player, but their community impact. I was reading about it, and I saw your ‘One More Foundation’. It’s a charity you founded in 2008. What sprung you to found, ‘One More’?
Benjamin Watson — Basically, the desire to leave a legacy. Number one, for our children of giving and also to get other people involved. A lot of times people want to be involved in some way, in their communities. Whether it is assisting [the] homeless, or education or some sort of other charitable initiative but they don’t quite know how; so the whole idea behind ‘One More’ is that everybody can do one thing for one other person. You can do one more thing. And in that way, we spread good will to people exponentially, when one person does something for one thing. We don’t do a lot of events, but we do a couple a year and it’s always great when we have people from the community who’ve been assisted or helped come back and want to do that for other people. Basically, it’s just an extension of who we are, who we want to be as a family. We want to be remembered and every community that we go to, as people cared about our community because that’s where God had placed us for that time for the four years or two years or six years, wherever we’ve been, we want to leave some sort of lasting impact on people.
KB – I was also reading—I have a list, of four straight years, of you either winning or you being a finalist in awards based on character. You won the Action Call to Courage [Award] in 2012. You were a finalist for the Whizzer [Award in 2013], you were a finalist for the Bart Starr Award in 2014. You won the New Orleans Saints Man of the Year in 2015 and you were a Finalist for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year [in 2015]. What makes you strive to do something more than just football? You’ve built a platform on integrity and respect and giving back, what’s got you going for that?
After such a serious question, it was only right there was a comedic offset. That came in the form of WR Mike Wallace walking by and making a joke.
Mike Wallace, sarcastically, “Talk about me, baby! Talk about me!”
Ben Watson responded to the wide receiver, “All Day! (laughing)”.
BW — “Honestly, it comes down to my faith. It’s the root of who I am. I believe that people are made in God’s image. I believe that we respect everyone, no matter if we agree with them or disagree with them with their political stances or their convictions or how they live their life. We are to love people and care about people and that’s how I spread the love in the hope of Christ in people by caring about them. So when I have an opportunity to do that, I want to do that. You mentioned integrity, I want to be someone who lives with integrity. That was demonstrated to me by my father, by my parents, by the way they cared about each other. Their relationship wasn’t perfect, no relationship is perfect, but as a father of five, I know that I’m setting an example. It’s about being sensitive to where God leaves you to talk about certain things, to stand for certain things. There are three things: truth, justice, righteousness. Those are things that I want to stand for in various ways and God gives me the opportunities, whether it’s writing, or speaking to a teammate. Whatever it may be, those are things that I want to hold in high-esteem. Really, it’s not a concerted effort, but I think that when you look at a lot of guys—there’s a lot of guys in the league who do a lot of great things. Most of them do it because that’s just who they are and the only reason why we know about it is because they play football.”
KB — “Now I’m going to switch a little bit,”
BW — “Okay.”
KB — “You published your second book, I think it’s your second book?”
BW — “Yeah, yeah.”
KB — It’s ‘The New Dad’s Playbook: Gearing up for the biggest game of your life’. You want to just, talk about it a little bit, share a little about what it is?
BW — Yeah, ‘The New Dad’s Playbook,” basically, a few years ago—we have five kids—”
KB, (interrupting) — Yeah, I saw that. I’ll be getting to that soon, by the way.”
BW — “Oh yeah? And after, maybe, the second kid, my wife is like, “Benjamin, you should write a playbook for dad’s, just telling them what to expect when they’re expecting”. There’s a ‘What to expect when you’re expecting’ for women, this one’s kind of the ‘what to expect when you’re expecting’ for guys. So in the book, I go through, kind of like a training camp, regular season, post-season, Super Bowl being the birth day. The day the wife gives birth, and kind of talk about what to expect through the first, second and third trimester. What to expect when you go to the first OB appointment. How do you plan for a baby shower? Can guys even go to a baby shower? Why or why not? What do you do for a gender reveal? What do you do when your wife has morning sickness and she’s struggling or she has cramps or her back hurts? How do you make her feel beautiful, during this time when she probably doesn’t feel very beautiful because she’s getting bigger with your baby? How can you be the most supportive father you can be; because even though the baby’s not here yet, you are setting the stage for your future family. Part of it is practical terms that guys don’t know, like ‘fetus’ and ‘zygote’ and ‘colostrum’ and ‘cesarean’,”
(At this point, Watson realized I didn’t know these terms. He saw the puzzled look on my face. In fact, I looked up these words while in the media trailer, finding out how to spell ‘zygote’ and ‘colostrum’ looked rather odd. Thanks Ben, for that.)
BW -- and all these sorts of things that guys don’t really know. You don’t really think about it, too. And then part of it is actually encouraging men that they can be the father’s that they had, or that they didn’t have, that it doesn’t matter, they can be good dad’s; because being in the NFL for thirteen years, going on fourteen years, I’ve been around a lot of guys. I was scared when I had my first child. We’re all a little nervous about what that means and how we’re going to do this. So really, it’s a book about encouragement as well.