Being an Australian Open Ball Kids January 26th, 2009
By June Young Oh
2009 Australian Open Ball Kids
*Editor’s Note: June Young Oh is one of the Ball Kids for the Australian Open 2009. He just finished the Ball Kids program and sent us his postscript.
The day, January 4th, started out like any other Sunday. But I was excited, because it was the first service of the year and I had changed church classes, and also, because I was finally going to Australia on the following Wednesday, January 7th. After the service, I went to a shopping mall to buy a digital camera to take to the Australian Open. I looked at a lot of models but couldn’t choose one in the end. So I just went back home and did some more packing for Australia. Ah…and yesterday, I bought a really cool pair of rectangular, horn-rimmed glasses.
<My new, stylish glasses>
The frame is really large… I wonder what the Australians will think of them. :)
I became interested in tennis after my dad switched from being a fanatic of golf to tennis. I was also studying English a lot to get into a foreign language high school and I was pretty good at sports too. I guess that’s why my dad really encouraged me to have a go at being a ball Korean kid for the Australian Open that’s sponsored by Kia Motors. So that was how I first applied.
I managed to pass the English test thanks to all the studying I had done. The physical test was not a problem either, but I didn’t make the final cut. I looked forward to the next chance but had to taste the bitterness of failure twice after the 6th grade. :(
The 2008 ball kids tryout was going to be my last shot. I gave it my all and was chosen. My parents and I were thrilled because I had tried so hard over the past three years. It was the happiest moment of my life. In January 2009, two months after I made the final list, I left for Sydney with 19 other Korean ball kids.
<Looking a little dazed upon our arrival at Sydney Airport>
We visited a lot of tourist sites in Sydney, like the Sydney Opera House and Blue Mountains. The next day, I left for Melbourne where the games are held and went through two days of ball kids training. Afterwards, I got into the action with the preliminary rounds of the Australian Open. At first, it was physically tough and difficult, but I enjoyed the new experience. I was honored to see such famous athletes up close and be able to say hello to them. Although I never entered the main courts, I have no regrets because I tried my best.
<Rehearsing the opening ceremony at Rod Laver Arena>
<Ball kids in action>
The three weeks in Australia went by in a flash because I had so much fun. I especially enjoyed meeting and sharing new experiences with the other ball kids who came from Singapore, India and Australia. The most memorable event was the farewell party on the night before we left Australia. I’m so sad it’s all over but I feel really grateful to Kia Motors for giving me this great opportunity. I will never forget the excitement and fever of Melbourne at the Australian Open 2009.
<With Super Ball Kids>