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Boys To Men

Having awareness is a pivotal trait for any guy that’s trying to successfully bob and weave through life’s trails and tribulations.

Hindsight exists for a reason, because just about all of us are too dumb to realize what our weaknesses are before they manifest into our reality. Nothing epitomizes this more than a guy’s sports career.

Whether a guy’s baseball lifespan flamed out in tears on a little league diamond, or ended abruptly with injury as millions watched, the book always closes one way or another.

The line between clinging to a dream, and chasing a pipe-dream is razor thin. Especially for these guys…

The Atlanta Braves won the World Series in 2021, but unfortunately for this bat-boy, he wasn’t penciled in on the lineup card.

From 86’-87’ Ken Griffey Sr. was actually in the Braves starting 9, and his son could be spotted now and then in the dugout at Fulton County Stadium.

After 13 All-Star selections, an MVP in 97’, and 10 Gold Gloves, it’s fair to say that this kid’s ambition to be a ball player was a sound decision.

This season’s Week 15 showcased an AFC South toilet bowl, inside of a rain storm. The Jaguars’ ball-boy, or should we say ball-man was sprinting around the sidelines attempting to keep these footballs dry for the epic matchup that was Houston at Jacksonville…like sweeping leaves on a windy day.

Breaking news by The Encyclopedia, but it turns out Larry Fitzgerald once patrolled the NFL sidelines as a ball-boy for Denny Green’s Minnesota Vikings.

Fitzgerald traded in his black and orange “team attendant” vest, for Pitt Panther’s colors…Then he proceeded to play 17 seasons, all for the Cardinals, making 11 Pro-Bowls.

Who knows if the late-great Denny Green would’ve drafted Larry Fitz with the third overall pick in 2004 if they hadn’t established a bond going back to 11’s ball-boy days.

Age isn’t the only determining factor that needs to be addressed. We know that talent is a key contributor. The Timberwolves mop-boy may have lost all of his 9 lives here if Devin Vassell didn’t have cat-like reflexes to euro step his lackadaisical sweat cleaning techniques.

A life altering event for any teenager. To secure a job courtside in the NBA, only to see a 6′ 5″ swingman barreling down on you is enough to make you quit on the spot. If Vassell posterizes this mop-boy he can never set foot on a basketball court again, and he probably won’t after the 2021-2022 season anyway.

Ability can move the needle in the opposite direction too. During Week 13 on Thursday Night Football, this ball-boy made a 56-yard field goal attempt look like Griffey Jr. was snagging a can of corn.

It’s why he’s in his mid-to-late 20s, and still distributing well-manicured “The Duke” footballs to line judges and field judges alike. Just in case the Saints hands-team needs another body…that ball-boy will be ready.

This guy will be prepared next Sunday too. Big Ben has already admitted he knows it’s time to hang em’ up, but number 7 will give it one more run at Arrowhead Stadium on Wild Card Weekend.

There’s no proof that Roethlisberger once held the title of ball-boy, but you can assume over the span of his 39 years as a football lifer he probably has carried out some ball-boy related duties.

Regardless if you’re a two-time Super Bowl champ, or trying to keep some footballs dry in a monsoon down in Jacksonville, knowing when to say when is a skill unto itself.

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