A SoCal man who volunteered at the 1984 Olympics as a ball person is hoping he can do it once more when the Olympics come to Los Angeles in 2028.
Mark Greenblatt wishes he could turn back the clock.
“I think about it all the time. I’m kind of a LA 84 nut,” Greenblatt said.
Greenblatt’s new wish is now to be able to do it all over again in seven years.
“As soon as 28 was announced, I was like this is what I’m doing, absolutely! There was no doubt in my mind,” he said. “Maybe all the ball kids will call me sir, I don’t know.”
Greenblatt was on the courts of UCLA in 1984 when tennis was a demonstration sport at the Olympics, chasing balls for Steffi Graf and Stefan Edberg.
He was only 16 years old.
Now he says he wants to do it again in 2028, when he will be 60.
“I can perform just as well as other ball kids, I’m sure of it.”
But times have changed, and now they’re no longer called a “ball kid,” now they’re called a ball person.
In a few weeks, UCLA undergrad, Charlotte Goldbaum will be a ball person at her third U.S. Open.
“I think it’s possible for sure. I think, go for it. It’s awesome,” Goldbaum says, cheering Greenblatt on.
The Serbian tennis player dominates world majors, but his first and only medal in the Games was a bronze in 2008.
Tennis pro, now commentator, Brad Gilbert, who won a bronze medal in the Seoul Olympics, checked out Greenblatt in action and advised.
“Better that he stay behind the baseline. It’s much easier, physically, to do that, not to mention at the net, you have to be a lot quicker,” Gilbert said. “I would say chase your dream. He wants to do something again, good for him.”
Greenblatt’s got the next seven years to train for the job and to convince the Olympics organizers he’s worthy.
“I have a lot, a lot of experience. Probably more than anyone out there, so pick me please…”
NBC LA reached out to the committee to see if this could be possible.
“We couldn’t be more excited about the LA28 Games, and we’re holding a spot on our volunteer roster for Mark!”
For anyone interested in volunteering or finding out more about the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games, please visit LA28.org and sign up for updates and information.
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