Written by Jess Paniszczyn
Standing along the baseline or passing balls to the pros, everyone knows the ball boys or ball persons are the unsung heroes of any tennis tournament, without whom chaos would reign.
For Texas’ only professional tennis team, the Texas Wild, nothing but the best of the best could be considered. A survey of the local youngsters revealed a wealth of untapped ball person talent right in our own back yard. Future tennis pros and teachers studying the game at Hackberry Creek Country Club and Slam Jammers from the USTA’s own development program volunteered for the vital positions.
“Being a ball person means the world to these kids,” said Ruth Lopez, a volunteer from Hackberry Creek watching over the youngsters. “It means being on the court with idols. They are all eager to get on the court. They are all like, ‘Am I next? Am I next?’ These kids all play tournaments, and they are all champs or super champs. So they are all big tennis geeks.
“On the court, the kids are responsible for keeping the balls ready for the players, and they hand the players the towels. That is it, but it is no small matter.
“We chose the kids from Hackberry, because we know they are responsible kids.”
Elated to be selected as a ball person, Iman Ghalibaf (11) hopes to one day be a pro herself.