There are worse jobs in sports

By Kevin Wilson

I hate my job.

It’s a comment lament. From the fictional account of the man who works with an office full of monkeys in the Careerbuilder.com commercial to the person who’s just trying to get by on minimum wage and the occasional hour of overtime, everybody has an aspect of their job they don’t like.

I’m not going to bore you with the aspects of my job that I don’t like because A) my supervisors are reading this and B) I would inherently welcome an onslaught of letters to the newspaper where people complain about their jobs, and the newspaper’s readers would be better served by other content.

Still, I couldn’t resist looking when Sports Illustrated’s Lang Whitaker decided to give what he felt were the worst 10 jobs in sports. Whitaker, who also is an editor at SLAM Magazine (basketball), has access to sports beyond many of his readers and used some of that information as his justification. I won’t repost the entire column, but I’ll give you his top 10 (in no particular order) with a short justification for each.

• Boxing bucket guy: Your job is to collect spit in front of thousands of witnesses.

• Football sideline reporter: You have an inherent danger of 250-pound men running into you with little notice.

• NASCAR tire changer: The same danger, except they’re cars, and you also have no margin of error when changing tires for a racer.

• NBA ball boy: You’re often stuck running errands like getting food for players and arranging complimentary tickets so certain people don’t sit next to others.

• Golf caddy: You have to carry somebody else’s stuff around, wade through stagnant water and get heckled by fans of various intoxication levels.

• Zamboni driver: It’s just mind-numbingly repetitive to drive the machine that smooths the ice between periods of a hockey game.

• Major League Soccer star: All of the rigors of professional sports, none of the perks of being a celebrity. (Would you recognize any of the top five MLS players if you met them?)

l Horse attendant: If the horse won’t go into the chute, you have to make them, and it will involve a lot of contact with the horse’s backside.

• Stadium bathroom attendant: I think no further discussion is necessary.

I think Lang was on point with many of these, but there are a few that he just couldn’t squeeze in the top 10. Here are some of my suggestions.

• Financial advisor for Mike Tyson: Imagine being responsible for a man’s finances. Imagine that man having a history of mental instability and violence. Now imagine having to tell him buying white tigers just isn’t a good investment.

• The closed-captioning typer when Magic Johnson is involved: Anybody who’s seen TNT’s “Inside the NBA” knows that frequent analyst Earvin “Magic” Johnson and the English language have always been mortal enemies. During Monday’s show, Johnson used the following “sentences” to discuss the Los Angeles Clippers: “(Chris) Kaman has to play well. That means that the tempo can slow in the terms of for the Clippers. Also, (Sam) Cassell and (Cuttino) Mobley has to have a good game as well.” Magic doesn’t end his sentences with prepositions — he ends them with three prepositions.

• Ron Artest’s agent: It’s a few weeks into the 2004-05 season, and your client was part of a brawl that gave the NBA a black mark and got him a year-long suspension. When he goes on television to tell his side, he dedicates half of the interview to plugging an album on his music label. It’s your job to get this man a lucrative contract.

l A public relations employee for Barry Bonds: I think no further discussion is necessary.

Kevin Wilson is the interim managing editor of the Quay County Sun. He can be reached at 461-1952 or by e-mail:

kevin_wilson@link.freedom.com