Even though Steve Helmeci wants to be a baseball player, he certainly didn’t mind interviewing a hockey player.
Especially when it was Pittsburgh Penguins rookie Sidney Crosby.
Helmeci, a 10-year-old from Mount Lebanon, interviewed Crosby on Oct. 28 for an article that appeared in the Nov. 11 edition of TIME For Kids Magazine. The publication, which reaches nearly four million elementary school students nationwide, is for kids ages 9-12. The article is available online at www.timeforkids.com/crosby.
“It was fun,” Helmeci said.
Helmeci became one of 32 finalists for TIME For Kids “Kid Reporters,” out of nearly 600 applicants when he wrote a story about the Pittsburgh International Children’s Festival and a statement explaining why he’d be a great “Kid Reporter.”
After he was selected as a finalist, Helmeci submitted a second entry in which he pitched an idea for the magazine (the story on Crosby), made a video in which he shared five interesting facts about himself and wrote a story about Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield.
TIME For Kids selected Helmeci as one of its 16 TIME For Kids “Kid Reporters” upon review of his materials.
“Steve was assigned the Crosby story because he pitched the idea to us. It is his first assignment for TFK, and he did an amazing job,” TIME’s Jennifer Marino said. “I was very impressed by his questions for Sidney and his professionalism.”
TIME For Kids became interested in featuring a story on Crosby, the Penguins’ 18-year-old phenom, when its readers made multiple requests and Helmeci brought up the idea. Naturally, it became Helmeci’s first assignment for the magazine.
“I was a little nervous,” Helmeci said. “You’re always nervous for an interview, especially when you’re my age.
“I have a neighbor who lives across the street and is about the same age as Sidney and he’s really nice to me, so that made me feel more comfortable.”
For once, Crosby wasn’t the youngest person in the Penguins’ dressing room.
“It was a fun time,” Crosby said.
Helmeci, who attends Washington Elementary, had the chance to watch the Penguins practice. Afterward, he came into the dressing room and chatted with some players before his exclusive interview with Crosby. Helmeci came prepared with a hand-held tape recorder and an entire page of questions.
“Just to get in [the dressing room] is really exciting,” Helmeci said. “I had fun watching practice. I’d like to come back. It was fun.”
Well, if Helmeci’s career plans turn out, people will be coming to interview him.
“Actually, I’d like to become a baseball player,” he said.
If that doesn’t pan out, he hopes to get into the television business.
“I’d like to become an analyst on SportsCenter,” he said.
For now, though, he’ll stick with the journalist gig.