Times guest blogger Hines Ward discusses Week One on 'Dancing With the Stars'
The Times is pleased to have Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward guest-blogging for us while he competes on "Dancing With the Stars." Every Wednesday, Ward, a Super Bowl MVP and two-time Super Bowl champion, will answer a few questions from Fabulous Forum editor Houston Mitchell and give some insight into the competition. Here are Ward’s thoughts about Week One, which he offered by e-mail.
Q: Have you ever watched "Dancing With the Stars" before this season?
A. I have. I have watched some of those episodes where the athletes have danced. I have seen Emmitt [Smith] win and watched big Warren Sapp. It looks easier than it really is being on the show and actually doing it now. I give those dancers a lot of credit. Especially all the ladies who have to wear high heels day in and day out. I don't see how ya'll do it. But I figured if big Warren Sapp can do it, then I certainly can. And so far, I am having a blast.
Q: When were you more nervous, before your first Super Bowl or before your dance Monday night?
A. You really can't compare the two. I mean, being in my first Super Bowl, I can't even describe the feeling. I just remember thinking about it right before going onto the field for the first time and how nervous I got. And I definitely got nervous on Monday night before my first dance. But my partner, Kym Johnson, is a great teacher and she just told me to go for it, so we did. I approached my preparation for the show the same way I approach my preparation for football. And I have a great coach for each. It's just that one is a lot prettier than the other :) but I have mad respect for both.
Q: Who do you think will be your toughest competition on the show?
A. I think all my fellow celebrity dancers are going to be tough competition. I mean, you take Sugar Ray [Leonard], for example. He is a world champion and made his living with his hands and his feet. And he doesn't seem to age at all. Then there are Kirstie Alley and Ralph Macchio, who both did very well and got better scores than me. So I mean you really can't count anybody out. I think everyone is capable of winning the Mirror Ball Trophy. I think it all comes down to who wants it the most and who works at it the hardest.
Q: Any particular style of dance you are looking forward to?
A. Since I have never done this type of dancing before, I really don't know what exactly to look forward to. So far I have enjoyed what I have learned in the cha cha cha and I am actually looking forward to learning a wide variety of dances before this thing is over. Remember, I am a football player and that is what I do. I am not a ballroom dancer, but I am willing to be one until May 24th if the public will keep voting to keep me on.
Q: Toughest judge: Len Goodman or Mike Tomlin?
A. Haha. I've only experienced Len Goodman as a judge one time, so I don't really think it is fair for me to compare the two. But from that one time, Len seems to be a great guy. He wasn't too hard on me, at least not yet, anyway. Coach Tomlin is a great coach who believes in me, and I have great respect for him as I have worked for him over these past few years. Maybe if Len develops the same type of belief in me as a dancer I will be better able to answer that question. So Len, if you are listening or reading this, I hope you develop that belief in me over the next several weeks.
Q: Which left you more sore, NFL training camp or training for the show?
A. Haha. Another interesting question. It really depends on which day you catch me on. Nothing really compares to training camp in the heat, the pouring sweat, and the constant challenge of maintaining a high level of performance and preparation for game day. On the other hand, training for "Dancing With the Stars" is six days a week, five hours a day. I don't have to train this much for NFL training camp! And it's a different kind of training. But both football and dancing require a lot of training and practice and both involve a team effort. But I have definitely found myself soaking my feet at night on many occasions with my preparation for "DWTS." It's all good, though, and I'm having a blast.
Besides being a Super Bowl MVP, Hines Ward is the founder of the Hines Ward Helping Hands Foundation, which focuses on improving literacy among children and provides programs and services to better equip them for achieving and handling success in life.
Photo: NFL player Hines Ward, left, performs with his partner Kym Johnson on the celebrity dance competition series "Dancing With the Stars" on Monday. Credit: Adam Larkey / Associated Press /ABC