MILWAUKEE – Christian Watson fully intends to have a long and successful NFL career.
He’s also been preparing for life after football since he was two years old.
“He was a Lego guy,” recalled Watson’s mother, Christa Lynn, during a podcast appearance with ESPN Wisconsin. “He was not breaking anything down either. We called them ‘Christian’s Creations’ and they were everywhere.
“His room, the playroom, everywhere. He didn’t want to break them down. And they were amazing. There were some really cool things that he built.”
When Watson enrolled at North Dakota State, the only division-one school to offer the 6-4 wide receiver a football scholarship, the university didn’t have an architectural engineering program.
“I ended up going through my first year-and-a-half of mechanical engineering,” Watson told ESPN Wisconsin’s Jason Wilde. “I kind of figured out that mechanical engineering wasn’t for me. It was too broad on the spectrum of engineering.
“I wanted to be more into the designing and the architectural side of engineering. Designing stuff that I wanted to get in to.”
Christa Lynn called her son, “naturally intelligent” and said that the “straight A” student would have received academic scholarships if he didn’t pursue football. However, in their household, good grades also helped fuel creativity with Legos.
“Every single time he got a good report card, or got a reward, he would want to buy a 1000 or 2000 piece Lego set,” she said. “And then he’d put it together in like an hour-and-a-half. It was crazy.
“Architecture and engineering and building and creating, he’s very artistically inclined, that was him growing up.”
Displaying his creativity, Watson would often build Lego sets while using the instruction manuals as mere suggestions, not guides. Christa Lynn recalled different designs of towers and spacecrafts displayed throughout their home.
“As I kind of got into it and really got going, you kind of get into a flow where you’re able to look at a picture, or I would build something that I liked. I would build something from Lego Star Wars that I already know what it looks like. They come in individual packets, so I knew what I was building at the time.
“Once I got in my zone, I was in my zone.”
Although Watson’s Legos weren’t deconstructed at the time, he’s sure that over the years they “started disappearing.”
“These Legos are going to take over our whole entire house. We should have bought stock in Legos,” Watson’s mom joked.
He graduated from North Dakota State with a degree in business, but did complete all of necessary pre-requisites for Architecture, just in case.
“If I’m not able to do everything that I want to do with this game, I’ll go back and finish two more years and get the architectural engineering degree.”
Christa Lynn reiterated her unwavering love and support for all of her kid’s passions, whether football, engineering or otherwise. She recalled watching Watson’s creativity grow as he built Legos for hours on end. And since he just turned 24, she’s looking forward to watching his NFL career blossom, but is excited for all of the milestones ahead.
“Christian’s first non-profit endeavor needs to be something that has to do with kids and Legos and creativity and letting them build. That was a great outlet for him too, to sit still and let him work his brain.”
Inevitably, as anyone who has been around Legos before, Christa Lynn did unintentionally step on a few, and “let out a few curse words.”