As the summer winds down, the action is just starting up at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where the U.S. Open Championships get underway each year at the end of August. Tennis greats like Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and the Williams sisters swarm Flushing, N.Y. for a chance at another Grand Slam win, but professional athletes aren’t the only ones vying for a spot on the court.
Each year, the U.S. Open holds tryouts for new ballpersons to work the tournament and rub elbows with the world’s greatest tennis players. The only requirement is that they’re 14 years of age or older and have a killer throwing arm. As a lifelong tennis player, I figured I would give it a shot.
The 2017 tryouts took place on one hot summer day, and thanks to Ralph Lauren, I at least looked the part in this year’s official ballgirl uniform. But as it turns out, tennis skills alone can’t get you hired. The best candidates have speed, stamina, and—most importantly—accuracy, something I definitely struggled with while throwing the ball from one end of the court to the other.
Watch the hilarious video at top to see how well I fared. For now, I think I’ll keep my day job.