The Dangers of Being a Ball Boy
Usually around the high school level of soccer, games are important enough and have enough fans to sometimes require several ball boys to be located around the field in order to keep the game moving and help the players make quick throw-ins. But the dangers of such a role were exposed today during the Capital One Cup semifinal match between Swansea City and Chelsea.
With Chelsea down 2-0 on aggregate from the first game and struggling to fight back as time was running out at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium, a hilarious yet frightening incident occurred when a ball boy decided to help his team by stalling the game and provoking Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard.
As a ball rolled out of bounds, both player and ball boy jogged to it. The Swansea ball boy sort of blocked Hazard off the ball, the two bumped into each other and the boy fell onto the ball and lied there. Provoking anger from Hazard, the boy was then kicked by the Belgian player and rolled over in pain as Hazard grabbed the ball and players became embroiled.
Now, the replay showed it was just a slight kick, but do realize that this is a kick from a professional soccer player who is capable of doing things like this. Surely the action will have left a bit of a mark on the teenage ball boy’s side, and also reveals the consequence of annoying a player in the middle of a heated match.
After a few moments of confusion and replays, Hazard was rightly shown a red card by the referee and dismissed from the game, where he will now surely feel the full weight of the vengeful British media kicking his own side!
Although it was a terrible decision by a great player in a heated match, let this serve as an example for ball boys around the world: annoy players at your own peril! Yes, you may think you are being cute and funny by stalling a game, but soccer players are trained each and every day to kick soccer balls really hard. This is not the type of person you would want to provoke into kicking you!
Though, the fact does remain that in provoking Hazard, the player was sent off and the game was all but assured to Swansea, who held on to qualify for the Capital One Cup final. However, one gets the sense that this particular ball boy is unlikely to be invited back to the sidelines any time soon for helping create such a negative scene.
His immature antics may have provided a moment of joy for Swansea, but such instances are not only childish but also disrespectful to the competitive nature of the game. If you find yourself on the sideline of a game, be sure to properly fulfill your job as the ball boy so that you don’t find yourself lying on the grass clutching your side after a kick from a grumpy player. It was probably not what he had hoped for!