Before joining emcee Spencer Tillman on the River Oaks Country Club stage at the Touchdown for TEACH dinner Tuesday night, NFL Hall of Famer Michael Strahan chatted up his dinner partners in a congenial conversation that offered several entertaining insights.
The graduate of Westbury High School and Texas Southern University admitted that he remains competitive after 15 years with the New York Giants but in a different mode from when he "loved running into a grown man and throwing him down. It was like, yeah!" Today that competitive spirit comes through on the golf course, a game he loves evidenced by his membership in several golf clubs.
His visit to Houston, arranged by Francisco and Co., included family time with his parents and his daughter, a design student at Houston Community College, who was celebrating her birthday. The 44-year-old Strahan says that he gets to Houston four or five times a year, "but not when it's hot." He also has a son at the University of Texas San Antonio.
Passing on the bread and skipping dessert, the very-fit Strahan appeared not to notice when his security duo stepped in place behind his chair to halt the parade of ladies intent on grabbing selfies.
As for his Live! With Kelly and Michael sidekick Kelly Ripa, Strahan said, "It's like you have a wife for an hour and she makes you laugh. And then you go home. You can't beat that."
Yes, he's a Texans fan "but they are struggling now. I'm a big J.J. Watt fan." But his loyalty will always be with the Giants.
Strahan and Tillman spent 30 entertaining minutes on a variety of subjects and each response from the 6-foot, 5-inch former defensive end added to his persona as a good guy.
* "The harder you work, the luckier you get," he said.
* Talking about the gap between his teeth, "I don't take myself seriously. I'm not perfect. I'm just a human being . . . that curse is now a gift."
* "You control your attitude. What you're giving off is what you're going to get back."
* "Be kind to yourself. Figure out how to talk to yourself and be positive."
Although he would catch a late-night private flight back to New York, arriving home at 2:30 am and then up at 6:30 am for the ABC show, Strahan said, "I love what I do." That includes traveling cross-country every weekend for FOX NFL Sunday with last year's speaker at TEACH, Terry Bradshaw.
Strahan allowed that his positive attitude starts every morning with Bill Wither's "Lovely Day." After he sang a few lines, a recording of the song sounded and the two professional athletes jumped to their feet and began fancy footwork. Oh, what a night!
For the second consecutive year, Carol and Mike Linn chaired the sellout event that raised a record $600,000, thanks in no small part to Fayez Sarofim, husband of TEACH co-founder Susan Sarofim, who underwrote all expenses. DeeDee and Wallis Marsh served as honorary chairs. None could have been happier with it all than TEACH executive director Kelly Krohn.
Supporters included TEACH co-founder Mary Yenik, Nancy and Terry Grier, Alex and Astley Blair, Kristina and Paul Somerville, Beth Madison, Cornelia and Meredith Long, Clayton and Shel Erikson, Sandy Barrett, Soraya and Scott McClelland, Donna and Tony Vallone, Tracy and Laurie Krohn, and Ileana and Michael Trevino.
Click video below to catch Michael Strahan and Spencer Tillman bust some dance moves: