Kids Q&A: Steelers Star Hines Ward

You asked, and he answered! Well, okay, Hines Ward didn't have time to answer all of the hundreds of great questions that came in from readers, but he answered a lot of them.

Hines took some time out during a visit to North Hills High School in Pittsburgh as part of Gatorade's G Series Mobile Locker Room to check in with Here's what he had to say... So what’s going on with the G Series Mobile Locker Room Locker Room?
Hines: I’m here to talk with some of the high school athletes about fueling their bodies before, during, and after their workouts by using the Gatorade G Series products. And G Series has got a new drink that gives you energy before your workouts and games, and during the games to refuel and rehydrate. They’ve also got a new product with protein in it that helps your recovery after you work out. So I'm here to talk to some of the football players at North Hills High School about the importance of hydrating your body so you can maximize your performance. Do you have a favorite Gatorade flavor?
Hines: Yes, I like the lemon-lime. And the Gatorade bath: Is it still cool or is it played out?
Hines: It’s always cool, anytime you’re celebrating and get to dump the Gatorade bath over somebody. It’s funny, and it's a little sticky, but it shows that you're celebrating and you’re excited about celebrating. What better way to do that than the Gatorade bath!

And now, onto questions from readers...

Joe, New Jersey (age 13): Do you have any rituals or anything special to get you focused and ready before you head out to the field?
Really, my pregame ritual is just to listen to my iPod while I’m going over the game plan. And I’ve got to drink some Gatorade to hydrate by body before the game, but normally just listen to some music to calm me down. I don’t listen to anything crazy, just something mellow to calm me down.

Michael, Kansas (age 13): What was your favorite NFL team when you where a kid?
 I had a couple teams growing up, Jerry Rice of course was someone who I really admired. And of course I liked the Steelers. And of course the Atlanta Falcons, because I’m from Georgia.

Dylan, New Jersey (age 15): Who is the hardest team to go up against and why?
There are so many teams and so many great players, but for me it’s definitely the Baltimore Ravens. Ray Lewis, he’s someone who I wish would just retire! He’s a phenomenal athlete. He’s just a great ballplayer, and he’s someone who I unfortunately have to [play against] twice a year. So that’s something I get up for.

Dasha, Georgia (age 14): Do you like being famous?
It was overwhelming at first. But going into my 13th season I don’t really care for the [fame] everywhere. Just to go to out to a restaurant or a fast food place, it makes it difficult sometimes.

Jeffrey, Pennsylvania (age 12): Hi Hines, I am a huge Steelers fan. Who do you think is the best up-and-coming player on the Steelers?
 Well Jeffrey, we’ve got a couple of young and upcoming guys. Mike Wallace is an up and coming wide receiver that impressed in his rookie year. And now, with the departure of Santonio Holmes, he’s going to get a huge opportunity to make a name for himself. So be on the lookout for him. As far as across the NFL, there are so many guys. Of course, I’m a little biased towards the Georgia guys [Hines played at the University of Georgia]. But [Broncos running back] Knowshon Moreno, I like the way he runs the ball. I think he’s really going to be a star in Denver.

Bob, Wyoming (age 11): Do you like any other sports besides football?
 I like to watch the playoffs in any sport: hockey, basketball, baseball. That’s when the games count the most, and they come down to a lot of strategy. But I’m a big sports fan, I can watch pretty much anything.

Wilson, Minnesota (age 10): What do you think has been the biggest accomplishment of your career?
Of course, winning the Super Bowl! And winning Super Bowl MVP. Every child’s dream, when you want to [imitate] somebody, you always pretend you’re winning in the Super Bowl. So that’s my biggest accomplishment.

Beau, Pennsylvania (age 15): If you were in a movie, who would play you?
 Oh man, that’s a hard one! I’m not sure who’s out there who could play me. I guess Terrence Howard, I like him.

Jake, Kentucky (age 12): What made you pick number 86?
 Actually, I didn’t really pick 86. It was just a number that was available. I really didn’t particularly like 86; I was just so happy to make it in the NFL. I’m really not a numbers guy. In college I wore 19, I didn’t really like that number either. I was actually [number] 15 when I came into the league. But to me, the player makes the number.

Andy, Conencticut (age 14): Which Super Bowl meant more to you?
 They both mean a great deal to me. But the first Super Bowl, playing in it was almost surreal. I couldn’t believe I was actually playing in the Super Bowl, and then going on to win MVP award, I don’t think any player can imagine what that feels like. So I guess that was the most important to me out of the two Super Bowls.

Dustin, Virginia (age 13): Was it hard growing up as a biracial kid?
Yeah, it was tough growing up as a biracial kid, just trying to find your identity and fit in. Really, I think a lot of kids nowadays are really searching for their identity, and trying to feel like they’re either wanted or they’re really cool with other people. So growing up and in high school, it was tough. But for me, I really found my identity through sports. Once I got a ball in my hands, it really wasn’t about race anymore. That made it a little easier.

Elliott, Louisiana (age 15): As a wide receiver, how do you escape jams from defensive backs?
 Wow, there is no secret really. I just play scared, to be honest. It’s fear that comes out of me, it enables me to get out there and elude guys, and get out of certain situations because I’m out there scared.

Timothy, Connecticut (age 10): What is your favorite touchdown celebration?
 [Laughing] I don’t really have a great one; I can’t dance! For me, I just find a fan with my jersey on. If I score a touchdown, I try to find a fan with my jersey on and give them the ball as a token of my appreciation for their support.

Ben, New Jersey (age 11): I know you threw some passes in your college career. Do think playing quarterback helped you as a wide receiver today?
 Yes, there’s no question. Playing a lot of different positions in college helped me understand the game. It made the transition [to the NFL] easier for me. I could understand coverages and I could be on the same page with the quarterback because I could see the same things that he saw. For me, it gave me an edge, especially because there were more talented guys out there. It gave me a little edge that I can appreciate now.

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