As Chris Wormley opened a book to virtually read it to the students at West Liberty Elementary School, his 17-month-old daughter Spade, sitting happily on his lap, poked her head in front of the camera, making everyone smile and laugh.
It set the stage perfectly for the book reading, which was a part of Pittsburgh Public Schools 'Take A Father to School Day,' held virtually on Friday.
The day, which is in its 23rd year, focused on 'Resilience Through Reading,' with Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Literacy Pittsburgh and the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates joining forces to encourage fathers to read to students and speak to the importance of fatherhood and being a positive male role model.
"I think it's really important, especially for kids who look up to guys like me and other Steelers," said Wormley after reading to the kids. "This is something I am really passionate about, working with kids and showing them different avenues in life, what you can do when you work hard. It's something I enjoy doing and I know the kids enjoy. If that is something we can continue to do, that is awesome."
Wormley, who was acquired by the Steelers via a trade with the Ravens in the 2020 offseason, knows being a role model can come with the territory of being an athlete, and it's a role he is willing to accept.
"This isn't for all athletes, but for me it's very important. I know there are a lot of eyes on athletes when it comes to doing the right thing and what is expected of us," said Wormley. "It might be very rightfully so or not, but it's something that is put on us. I think it's extremely important. I know there are a lot of kids living in a single mother household and to have a strong male presence, whether that is for reading them a book and answering the easy questions they come up with, that can go a long way in shaping a kid's mindset when it comes to having a role model, whether that is somebody in house when it comes to a male role model or not. I think that is very important. It's something I take seriously when it comes to my daughter as well. I use what I do with my daughter and apply it to situations like this."
Wormley read the kids the book, 'The Rainbow Fish,' by Marcus Pfister, and then fielded their questions, which ranged from who his sports hero is, to what other sports he played as a kid, and much more.
"They are so innocent," said Wormley. "They have no idea what life really is. That is the best part of it. Some of the questions were football related. But they were asking what type of food I eat, if I eat sweets, my favorite subject in school. Just their innocence is very endearing. I enjoy those type of questions over how we are going to stop Baker Mayfield or Lamar Jackson."