A Star Running Back and a Vegan?
Coming out of nearly anyone else's mouth, the phrase "I'm trying to change the world" is a nonstarter. Nearly everyone, from motivational speakers to real estate agents, eventually says it … and yet the world remains stubbornly unchanged. But Arian Foster makes you believe it, largely because the star running back for the Houston Texans is already beginning to make it a reality.
It's not just about effecting change on the field, even though he's doing just that. He holds several franchise records for the Texans, among them the most rushing touchdowns (16) and the most rushing yards in a season (1,616). (All this, despite going undrafted in 2009.) He also has great style: Whenever he reaches the end zone (which, as previously stated, is often), he bows politely in the Indian salutation popularly known as Namaste.
Off the field, he also exemplifies change, of not following the standard blueprint. For instance, he writes poetry, like one of his idols, the poet Saul Williams. (Williams recently began following Foster on Twitter, which left Foster feeling "a little starstruck.") And he recently shocked the national press by switching to a vegan diet.
"I had no clue that ESPN was gonna have a debate about it, says Foster about his new eating habits. "It's actually a good thing; now people can start educating themselves, even the guys that were against it. It's a very healthy lifestyle and you can accomplish any kind of goal, physical or spiritual, by eating a healthy diet."
For all his unconventional interests, though, fans love Foster, and for good reason: He's funny, charming and self-effacing in interviews. And he's not shy about diving into the crowd, rock-star-like, after a particularly satisfying touchdown.
But for Foster, living one's life fully is just a starting point, and world change is more than a game. He supports multiple charities, advocates healthy living, and inspires kids to further their education. And if he has his way, that will only be the beginning.
"I do what I do to try to create as big a platform as I can to try and help educate people about a lot of different subjects — hunger, disease, lots of things that could be prevented if we cared a little more," says Foster. "I can do that through my platform — on a small scale as of now, but maybe I can spark the mind of somebody else that can do it on a bigger scale."
Foster speaks warmly and thoughtfully. It's not what you'd expect of someone who's making as big a mark on the game as he is — bragging and posturing seem alien to him. Perhaps that's why the press and the fans celebrate him in such large numbers. At the same time, it's also why Foster is able to keep his blossoming fame in perspective.
"Kids that look up to you, you have an impact on them," he says.
And that's Foster's real mission, on the field and off — to change negative into positive, whether in his own life or in the world at large.