The boys on the sideline

By: Jenn Chapman Email
By: Jenn Chapman Email

Every Friday night we see starting line-ups, but what about this starting 11?

((Soundbites of youth))

"Especially those first two weeks when it was 90 degrees outside," says Stanley-Boyd waterboy, Ryan Ponick. "It was having to go get ice or something like that, keep it cold or even filling them all the time, when those guys want it. Kind of gets hectic."

"Filling up the water bottles when the players are always chugging them down," adds Chippewa Falls waterboy, Dawson Goodman.

The ball boys agree. Their task has difficulties too.

"You have to get the ball in and if it's not dry my dad said he'd make us do 150 push ups if they fumbled," says Chippewa Falls ballboy, Hayden Goodman.

"Sometimes I kind of run into the players and it's kind of a trouble for me sometimes," adds Chippewa Falls ballboy Nolan Hutzler.

And while most fans are enjoying the action on the field, the sideline crew is keeping busy.

"Sometimes it's just stress and importance and sometimes its just fun and stuff," says Chippewa Falls waterboy, Gavin Goodman.

"It's tiring and I kind of lose my voice, because I'm yelling a lot," adds Menomonie ball boy, Caleb Miller.

There is yelling as in cheering….and then there is yelling.

"You have to get the ball into the ref and he's always yelling 'get the ball here, get the ball here' and most of the time he's on the other end of the field where you don't even know where he is," says Hayden.

"The hard part is when you're not doing something you get yelled at," says Menomonie waterboy, Jayce Labuda.

"Sometimes the players tell us to pay attention when we're talking to them or we just know to pay attention or we'll get yelled out," adds Menomonie ballboy, Jacob Miller.

Although, the job can be challenging, the reward for some is time with dad.

"Three of us coaches had our sons as managers out here, so it makes it kind of special having your son at practice everyday and being able to share that with him," says Menomonie football coach, Joe Labuda.

The lessons these youngsters learn in being the ball boy or water boy can carry with them as they step onto the football field.

"It's good for the kids to be around the players," says Menomonie quarterback, Dakota Paulson. "I know the players have a lot of fun with it. Me, being a player and when I was a kid. I remember players were very good to me and it's just good to have that in your town."

"And the thing that I like about it, is they usually end up being pretty good ball players when they get in high school because they've watched it their whole life," says Chippewa Falls football coach Chuck Raycovich.

At Stanley Boyd, players feel Ryan Ponick is an asset to their team

"Ryan's definitely more than a water boy because you come off the field, he lifts everybody's spirits and he's almost a captain because he's great at what he does," says Stanley-Boyd football player, Riley Westaby.

When asked if they would recommend this job to other youth, there was no hesitation.

"it gets them close to the game," comments Ponick. "And if they can do anything to help out because these guys are always busy and they have other things on their mind. So if you can kind of take a load off, that's all they ask you to do."


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