Ball Patrol at the Hockey World Cup
Niamh Arthur spent 2 weeks of her summer on Ball Patrol at the Vitality Women’s Hockey World Cup
At the world cup I worked as a ball girl. I was involved in 12 games, and in an interview on finals day, as well as half time entertainment at the final. I also carried 3 flags – Japan, South Africa and India, and worked on two england games: against Ireland and Korea (the only two we won). The experience was amazing, it was an honour to be one of 36 out of 300 who had applied, and being part of the game also added to the excitement. Having an influence on the pitch really changed my perspective on the game at such a high level for the players and officials. I also got an insight the organisation behind such events, and the professionalism of everyone involved. Due to the group being only 36, and changing each shift, the ball patrol team became really close. The shared experience is something we will never forget. Meeting people from around the country with such similar interests was one of the best parts of the event, we got on instantly due to the pressures on the pitch and despite only knowing each other for two weeks, by the end we were a tight group. My favourite part of the experience was being in the tunnel, and in the changing rooms. Being stood by the players preparing to come on is something not many experience, and we could feel the mood in the air. After games, hearing celebrations from outside our so-called “bunker” changing room (you couldnt hear anything in there – even the crowd when england scored!) added to the thrill. Occasionally we would be visited by captains of the winning side thanking us for the support, and speed at which we placed the ball on the line. What surprised me most was the amount of players who asked for pictures from us – I was the one supposed to be starstruck! Overall it was an experience I am extremely thankful to have been a part of and will never forget.