In the world of pro sports, athletes get 99% of the attention. And that’s probably fair, since without them nobody would watch. But there are a lot of other people involved in making sports happen, and every once in a while it’s nice to give them a shout-out. A few months back we tried to pay tribute to the intrepid sports reporters who take a beating just to bring us the inside scoop. And today we’re going to pay tribute to the young people responsible for making sure the game isn’t delayed when the ball goes out of play: the ball boys. Or girls. Or men.
Okay, so we won’t so much be paying tribute as much as we’ll be laughing at them. But even though we’ll be laughing, it will be a laughter of appreciation for all their hard work. (Yeah, that’s a tenuous argument. It’s not easy trying to justify laughing at kids falling down, so just go with it.)
Ready to take a look? Great. Let’s get started.
Dude, you're supposed to yell "FOOOORE!" when the ball is going to his somebody.
Wait, no, that's golf. I get all my country club sports mixed up.
German national soccer coach Joachim "Jogi" Löw was quite the prankster at Euro 2012 as he walked up behind a ball boy and knocked the ball out from under his arm. This is about the funniest thing you'll ever see a German guy do.
18. German Joker
Okay seriously, how many times have you watched this now? That right there is comic gold. And I don't know why, but it just wouldn't be as funny if the ball didn't first bounce off the fence and then hit the kid in the face.
This kid could be the starting shortstop for the Houston Astros.
(That's both a commentary on how good he or she is, and how bad the Astros are.)
16. Nice Catch
I know LeBron is tall and everything, but does he really not see the ball boy standing right in front of him waiting politely to collect his sweaty warmup clothes? I'm not saying LeBron is a douche. But things like this are certainly why others say he is.
15. The Invisible Ball Boy
You have to feel bad for this kid. All 8,000 people at the Rays game saw him do this. He must have been so embarrassed, and at the same time grateful he doesn't live in a city where more people like going to baseball games.
14. Ball Boy Fail
My theory here is that this kid realized mid-jump that he did not in fact need to hop out onto the field. You see his head turn to his left and see the ball bounce over the barricade. Then he hesitates for a split second, and this happens.
But hey, at least nobody saw it. It was just a stupid Champions League game between Manchester United and Real Madrid, the two biggest clubs in the world. No biggie.
13. Ball Boy Down
First off, I don't think the guy was ready for the ball. But more importantly, that's a pretty hard throw. I know they don't want ball boys wasting time or anything, but that's a little extreme.
Ouch, talk about adding insult to injury. This kid's team, Tottenham Hostpur, was already up 4-0 against Greek club Anorthosis in what would wind up a 6-1 blowout. But he felt the need to really rub it in by tossing the ball a little hard and low to Kostas Louboutis there. And as you can see from their reaction, the crowd loves it.
11. When Ball Boys Attack
This Detroit Mercy ball boy gives the ejected Valpo a nice wave goodbye after he's ejected. Who knew the Horizon League was that intense?
10. Bye Bye
When you're the Buffalo Bills, even your ball boys suck.
Actually, I remember when this happened and I think this dude actually injured himself. Which, again, sounds about right for the Buffalo Bills.
(Sorry, I love to make fun of the Bills. I really do root for them, though.)
9. Bills Ball Boy
I'm assuming this is a ball person tryout. If so, I don't think this poor girl made the squad.
Good job good effort, though.
8. Ball Girl Tryouts
At frist I was like, "oh haha that kid lost his footing and fell." But then I kept watching and realized, why the heck was he trying to step on the barrier in the first place? He could have just hopped right over it?
7. Nasty Spill
Eden Hazard did not realize that kicking the ball boys was not allowed, even when they are purposely delaying the game. Now he knows.
6. Kicking Ball Boys
And here is the kid Hazard attacked. Obviously, he's a huge soccer fan. He knows how to cringe in agony when he's just been assaulted on the pitch.
5. Milking It
When you think about it, it's kind of surprising this doesn't happen more often. They should make tennis ball boys wear helmets. It would be hilarious.
4. Danger Zone
I'm not sure what these kids thought they were doing. Were they thinking it was going wide and so were trying to stop it? Or are they wannabe goalies who just like to pretend? Either way, this is pretty awesome.
3. Synchronize Diving
This should serve as a lesson to ball boys everywhere: always make sure you stay hydrated. Of course, in this kid's case, at least it was clay and not hardcourt.
2. Faintint Ball Boy
And this is why they baseball teams did not traditionally employ the elderly as ball boys. They just don't have the reflexes (or balance) for the job.