Monday night, I did something I’ve wanted to do for years, something completely frivolous and silly that I’ve been wanting to check off my bucket list but hadn’t found the time to fit into my schedule. I went to a taping of Dancing With the Stars. (With a Terrible Towel in my purse!)
My friend Kristi, who is also from Pittsburgh and a huge Steelers fan, drove down from Mammoth for the show, and got us awesome seats inside the theater. (Normally, as media, I would sit in a back room, watch the show on a monitor and then hit the press line. Not Monday! We needed to wave our towels–with total journalistic impartiality, of course–for our favorite WR!)
I don’t go to many show tapings, nor do I spend much time on the H-wood side of planet LA, so I must say, I felt like a giddy kid. Before the show, we (Kristi, our friend Denege and I) stood backstage watching the contestants and cast members apply last-minute fixes to their costumes and one final coat of makeup. It was a stressful scene, but my biggest takeaway from those few minutes, and from the night in general, was that the contestants seemed to be genuinely having fun. And despite the competitiveness of the competition, they were all so supportive of one another while they were dancing, during commercial breaks and after the show. I felt like I’d been dropped into the strangest summer camp in the world.
I wrote a piece for ESPN.com’s Page 2 about my experience that night, and about the advantage athetes have on the show, which you can read HERE. As a sports reporter, an hour spent interviewing athletes and celebrities dressed in glittery Halloween costumes and stage makeup was a fun break from reality. Which is why I think these athletes, actors, musicians and models have so much fun on the show. It’s a fun break from their reality. And I bet none of them are in a rush to return to their real worlds anytime soon. I know I wasn’t!