Super Bowl champion and Washington Redskins Ring of Fame member Joe Theismann visited Rock Barn Golf & Spa in Conover on Tuesday.
Theismann took part in the 10th Annual Dale Jarrett Celebrity Shootout — part of the 10th Anniversary Greater Hickory Classic week.
During his time in Conover, O-N-E Sports Editor Cody Dalton spoke to Theismann and asked him a couple of questions.
Q: You’ve participated in the Dale Jarrett Celebrity Shootout for quite a few years. What does it mean to you to participate in this event?
Theismann: “I appreciate it so much. First of all, to be invited to be able to play is such a great honor. I have so much respect for these guys out on tour. People have to understand how good these guys really are. Secondly, what you end up doing is raising a lot of money for charity. I think it is always great to have the opportunity to give something back. That’s why I appreciate the invitation to come down. I thank everybody in advance for coming out, watching some great golf and supporting a great cause.”
Q: This tournament gives you a chance to interacti with the high school golfers. What do you talk to them about?
JT: “It’s funny. I was on the range with the high school kids. I said I guess if I look back when I was in high school, golf wasn’t what it was back then. I started thinking that maybe I could steer people toward golf because you can do it the rest of your life. Yesterday, the rain was terrible here. The kids had to go out and play in it. I said maybe golf isn’t the answer. Maybe it was football weather all day yesterday. The thing about golf is it is a very unique sport because there is a lot of individuality. I think that is one of the issues guys have in the Ryder Cup and why we see young kids that play in the Ryder Cup do so well because they come out of college in a team competition. Even though they are competing individually, they are still a part of a team. You’ve got guys that have played on the tour a while that are veterans. They start to develop their own individuality. When you have other people helping you with putts, there is a different feeling in a competitive nature. I think it is great that the high school kids get to play golf. The technology is wonderful. They have a chance to be able to develop the skills. There is discipline. You have to deal with pressure. All of these things are a part of life. I think it is a great sport to be able to do that with.”
Q: You are a former Washington Redskin. As you probably know, the Redskins drafted a new quarterback this year — Robert Griffin III. What do you think about the team this year?
JT: “We’re excited. They’ve been in every game of the five games. They’ve lost three of them. It is a football team that I think will continue to get better and better. There is a foundation there I think is going to be able to go forward quite well. Robert Griffin III is as advertised. He is smart. He is articulate. Now we just have to convince him that running out of bounds and sliding is a good thing because he is such an incredible competitor. That is the whole thing about Robert is there is a competitive side of him that says I just don’t want to give up on any play. He has to understand that running out of bounds is not giving up. It is called self preservation. To me, I’ve always felt that when you play at the highest level as a professional, your number one responsibility is to make yourself available to play and practice. Then you can keep getting better. It’s just like you take a young high school kid who gets hurt, maybe an elbow problem or knee problem. You can’t continue to practice. It sets you back. It is very similar in that regard to what we see in football. If you get hurt, you can’t keep going. Robert has to really protect himself because there are a lot of people out there that want to take his head off.”
Q: I know you commentated on Thursday Night Football. What do you think about so many Thursday night NFL games and having that differential in schedule a little bit?
JT: “I just think that America and the world has an insatiable appetite for football, whether it is collegiate or professional. We see high schools playing on Friday night. I think America basically says look, if you want to put football on, we want to watch it. We’ve seen some surprise teams that are coming on. I think it is great. I really do.”
Q: Finally, what is more fun — playing in or commentating football games?
JT: “Definitely playing.”