ESPN Kids Writer Mailbag 13

Q: How do you kick a soccer ball really high? Sarah from Texas
A: Sarah, this is an interesting question. A good soccer player knows how to kick the ball in many different ways. She can pass the ball to her teammates in the air or on the ground; she can take a hard shot to get it past the goalie. She can make short passes and long ones. Sometimes, like you say, a player needs to loft the ball high in the air to get it past the defender to an open teammate. The best way to do this is to use the top of your foot, where your shoelaces are. This allows you to get under the ball, lifting it into the air.

Q: What inspired you to become a sports writer? Jaycee from Oklahoma
A: Jaycee, that's a great question. Basically, the field combines two of my greatest interests  sports and writing. All of my life I have been a writer. I wrote lots of stories as a kid and ended up studying journalism in college. I have also always loved watching and playing all sports and would tell stories about the games and players that I saw. For me, it just made sense to get into this field. Of course, it wasn't easy. I worked hard in school and was determined. All of my hard work paid off, and I am now writing for ESPN!

Q: What pro football stadium seats the most people? Edward from Tennessee
A: Edward, the largest pro football stadium is currently FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. The home of the Washington Redskins, the field seats approximately 91,704 people. Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey is second on the list. It seats 80,242 and is home to the New York Giants and Jets.

Q: Do you consider golf a sport or an outdoor activity? Hudson from Georgia
A: Hudson, golf is most certainly a sport. While it may not be as physically demanding as football, hockey or basketball, it involves a tremendous amount of athletic ability. A good golfer needs stellar hand-eye coordination and the ability to consistently swing the club correctly and accurately. Believe me, it's not easy!

Q: I love to swim. Do you have any tips that will help me improve? Carter from California
A: Carter, as with anything, the best way to improve is practice, practice, practice. Spend as much time as you can in the water! The more repetitions you do, the better your strokes will become. If you can't get into the water, it's also important to train outside of the pool. Swimming is a demanding cardiovascular sport; additional training such as running can make you even stronger. Also, take lessons! Working regularly with a coach will allow you to learn what you are doing right and what needs improvement.

Q: What team won the first World Series? Ronan from Massachusetts
A: Ronan, the first World Series was played in 1903. The Boston Red Sox, who won the American League pennant, took on the favored Pittsburgh Pirates, the National League pennant winners. The American League was relatively new, and no one thought that an AL team could beat a team from the more established National League. However, the Red Sox surprised everybody by winning the best-of-nine series, 5 games to 3, to win the first World Series.

Q: What does NASCAR stand for? Pete from North Carolina
A: Pete, NASCAR stands for the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing. When NASCAR started in the 1940s, it only used cars that had not been changed from the way they were built in the factories. Since none of the cars were modified to make them faster, the idea was that the best driver would win the race. Today, most racecars are built for speed, but still slightly resemble cars you might see on the road. Hence, they are still known as stock cars.

Q: If you could only play one sport for the rest of your life, what would it be? Mary from New York
A: Mary, that's a tough one! After giving this much thought, though, I think I've decided on golf. As 59-year-old Tom Watson just showed us at the British Open, golfers can remain competitive for many, many years. Watson has been a championship-caliber golfer for nearly 40 years, which is much longer than an athlete can compete in football, baseball, basketball, hockey and many other contact sports. Golf is a great way to relax, get some fresh air and keep your competitive drive.

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