Dance and the Football Player

Steeler football player, Hines Ward danced on the reality show, Dancing with the Stars this week. I didn’t catch his performance but I listened to a pod-cast of reporters discussing the event. From Rob Owen, who hosts the program, Tuned In, and guests, Sharon Eberson and Maria Sciullo, I learned that in Reality TV land, Wards’ challenge was not just to dance, but to dazzle. They concluded that he did well, tying for third place on his first time out. Sharon felt the judges responded very positively to him, and she warned us not to underestimate the power of the Steeler Nation (who will be able to vote for him) and Wards’ smile. Maria reminded us that “Hines comes up from every tackle smiling as well.”

This conversation got me to thinking how a Reality Dance contest is like a football game. For both types of contests, millions of people are watching on television sets in their homes, bars, and restaurants across the nation. Football games have officials who decide first downs and touch downs, while judges in the dance contest keep their own scores. And when the contests finish, viewers at home all have their own opinions about whether the judges made the right call. But in the dance contest, the votes of the viewers help determine the outcome. I’m sure many sports fans would love to have that kind of influence on behalf of their favorite team.

So how is a dancer like a football player? How am I like Hines Ward?  Both the dancer and the football player must get in and stay in, excellent athletic shape. I’m not sure about Hines Ward, but at my age, I’ve moved into the extra point category as to degree of difficulty, where staying in shape takes extra effort and determination. Both dancers and football players need a total focus on the activity at hand, though that’s probably true of anything one wants to do well. And like the musicians who want to get to Carnegie Hall, we must practice, practice, practice.

I’m expecting that, however this turns out, Ward will have a new respect for what being a dancer requires. He might even gain some coordination skills he’ll find useful on the football field.

And finally, in order to engage the fans or audience members, you’d better look like you’re having fun so they can enjoy it with you. I suspect that’s where the dazzle kicks in.

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