The following is the beginning of Rebecca Rollet's final post about Hines Ward and his exploits on Dancing With The Stars. Ward, of course, took home the Mirror Ball Trophy last night after winning the competition. I asked Rollett if she wouldn't mind first publishing on SB Nation Pittsburgh as I knew myself and the rest of the contributing authors there would not be able to do the top-notch job she did. You can read the rest of the article by clicking on the link in the title. - Michael B. -
"We've had some great footballers on Dancing With The Stars. I don't think any compare with Hines Ward," said head judge Len Goodman in the pre-game analysis of Team Hines Tuesday night.
Considering that many other "footballers" (including Jason Taylor, Chad Ochocinco, Warren Sapp, and Kurt Warner) have competed, and that Emmitt Smith won the Mirror Ball trophy, that's high praise.
It's all the more impressive when one considers Ward's lack of experience.
"I really didn't know what to expect when I signed up for this... My goal was to just not be the first one voted off. Now to be still standing while watching other great competitors go one by one, it's a miracle... To be able to conquer my fear of the unknown has been an incredible feeling for me."
Ward and Kym Johnson performed three dances during the finals - a judges' choice, a freestyle, and a repeat of their favorite dance from the season. The judges' choice is a dance from earlier in the season that, for whatever reason, needed improvement. The dance they chose for Ward and Johnson was the quickstep, which the pair had done in Week 2. This dance was a huge hit with the audience and the blogosphere, and really showcased Ward's sparkling personality and connection with the audience. But even as judge Bruno Tonioli praised his "nifty footwork," Goodman said that he "couldn't bear to watch [Ward's] feet."
The problem? I certainly couldn't figure it out, so I went to Andrew Pueschel, the Artistic Director and Resident Instructor at Absolute Ballroom Studios in Pittsburgh. It has to do with one of the conventions of ballroom dance. In a way, you could compare it to football. There are a lot of ways that you could get a ball into the end zone, but not all of them are going to result in a touchdown, because you have to stay within certain rules in the game. Pueschel explains: