Are You Ready for Some Football [Players in Ballet Class]?

September 25, 2013

We’ve all heard that old story about football players taking ballet classes to improve their grace on the field. Yeah, yeah, OK. We’ll believe it when we see it.

Well, believe it, guys. Because it really does happen. And it is just as awesome as you’d imagine it to be.

ESPN went behind the scenes with 320-pound Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Steve McLendon, who, yes, takes a weekly ballet class—at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, no less.

He takes it pretty seriously, too.

Apparently, McLendon’s ballet habit started in college. “I needed like an extra credit or two, and the first day when I walked into class, there were nothing but females in there,” he says. “Then [the teacher] told me it could help me with football…”

Now he’s hooked—especially because all those classes have strengthened his lower body, particularly his ankles and feet, making him less prone to injury on the field. (BREAKING: Ballet dancers are strong!) He’s even convinced some of his teammates to join him.

Bonus: The video includes footage of the very aptly named Steelers Hall of Famer Lynn Swann doing ballet on a 1981 episode of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.” It is totally great.