Times guest blogger Hines Ward discusses Week 9 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 9, which he offered via email.
Q: There were tears in your eyes after finishing your first dance on Monday. It has been such an emotional week for you because of Kym’s injury. Take us back to that moment right after the dance ended. What was going through your mind?
Aww, I was just happy we made it through the dance. I mean after seeing Kym get injured like she did, nothing mattered to me except her health. I thought she had broken her neck at first and it really hit me. My first thought was that this competition wasn't worth her future or her life. So when we were able to complete the dance and seeing her go through it after what she went through was overwhelming for me. She has done so much for me and I was just so glad she was OK. I guess I lost it for a moment. She is the best and I am just glad she is OK.
Q: So Kym nearly breaks her neck and comes out dancing like nothing is wrong on Monday. Will that make it hard for any Steelers rookie to complain to you about feeling banged up this season?
Kym is a trooper. She is an athlete and a true Steeler and has the never-quit mentality. She believes in me and that we can win this competition and will push herself beyond her limits. I respect and admire her for that. She is a great coach and I owe my success in dancing so far to her. I think our team shares the same never-quit mentality and I am sure my teammates, veterans and rookies alike, appreciate Kym's work ethic like I do.
Q: We promote the Hines Ward Helping Hands Foundation at the bottom of all of your blog posts. What can you tell us about it, and what is the organization’s main goal?
The Helping Hands Foundation is my baby. I started the foundation after my first visit to Seoul, South Korea. There I saw firsthand how biracial kids were being discriminated against because of their mixed blood. The goal of my foundation is to fight biracial discrimination and discrimination of all kinds around the world. I want the children of today to have an equal chance to pursue and achieve their dreams. My foundation provides them with hope and encouragement for a brighter tomorrow. And it provides these children with the resources necessary to educate and equip them to handle the challenges life brings them.
Q: Next week is the finale. I’m sure you entered the competition with the desire to win, but, deep down, did you really expect to do as well as you have done?
No. My goal coming into it was to just not be the first one kicked off. And honestly, to be doing the types of dances I've been doing and to still be here in the finals speaks volumes of my coach. Kym is amazing and I owe it all to her.
Q: Many of your teammates, coaches and ex-teammates had great things to say about you in the footage they showed before your second dance Monday. How did you feel while listening to that, and does the pre-dance footage ever take your focus away from the dance you are about to perform?
It was very encouraging and humbling to hear the comments made by my coaches and teammates. I was and am always proud to wear the black and gold because we stick together and have each other's backs. So I was grateful to my coaches and teammates for taking the time out of their busy schedules to record the piece for me. Hearing their comments doesn't take away from my focus at all. It only motivates me more to do the best I can to represent and make them all proud.
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: Hines Ward, right, and dancing partner Kym Johnson on "Dancing With the Stars'"Monday. Credit: Adam Taylor / ABC