McKnight’s Articles

Ball girl, stand down!

The 2018 Wimbledon Championships concluded July 15 with Novak Djokovic winning the gentlemen’s singles title and Angelique Kerber winning the ladies’ singles title. As rousing as the matches were, my lasting impression was not of these champions, but instead of a ball girl.

Being a ball girl or ball boy in tennis, particularly Wimbledon, is quite competitive. Written and physical tests that include speed, coordination and remaining perfectly still all bring a substantial candidate pool down to the select few.

Maybe the camera operator was biased by the same impressive qualities that I noticed in this ball girl, but I don’t think it was this alone that drew the world’s eyes to her perhaps more often than to the players engaged in the game.

The intensity of ball girl’s gaze straight down the net line paired with the focus and anticipation of the sprint to the out-of-play ball was just remarkable. Then came the serve. The 120-plus mile-an-hour ball hit the net cord and landed on the service court. A “let” was called and ball girl sprinted into action at super-heroine speed that rivaled my sister’s cat pouncing on her prey. The ball was snatched up, secured tightly in her hand, and ball girl returned to her place, anticipating her next move.

Weeks after this one woman show stole the rapt attention of Wimbledon watchers, the same ball girl intensity you’ve all been fostering was called to attention when another “ball” flew across the SNF scene: the long-anticipated FY 2019 SNF PPS Final Rule. You downloaded the document and read with unprecedented intensity and verve, making those around you wonder if you’d ever get a life or even a hobby. (I had my copy of the final rule printed and bound with a spiral coil. I could feel my colleagues’ eyes rolling as I paraded around the office with what appeared to be a glowing white box of bakery treats, but instead contained my bound copy of the final rule.)

Continue reading Steven Littlehale’s guest column on mcknights.com.