Jon Hart does not play sports. But that didn’t stop the author of Man Versus Ball from trying out a few “extraordinary sports adventures,” which saw him trying everything from pro wrestling (surprisingly dangerous) to being a mascot (surprising dumb).
Here, he gives us the lowdown on his missions, each serving as a chance to check something off his bucket list… each ending in a hilarious disaster… and each chronicled in his new memoir:
1) “I played in the World Cup of roller soccer, soccer on blades. It was, of course, really dumb. You simply can’t skate and kick at the same time. I fell on my butt and got hurt, not seriously fortunately.”
2) “Rollerbasketball, hoops on blades, is not as dumb as roller soccer, but it can be very tough to watch if it’s not played by elite players.” Believe it or not, he says, “I was defensive player of the year one season.”
3) He even tried activities off the field: “Selling concessions — wienies, pretzels and cotton candy, among others — at sporting events doesn’t require a rocket science degree, to put it mildly. You don’t have to be smart to do that, but that’s part of the beauty of it.” He also points out that free seats to the game isn’t anything to scoff at, either.
4) “Being a mascot at a sporting event — you can be really dumb and still do this [well]. You don’t have to speak and no one sees you! Just wave and you’re all set.” So dumb even Mr. Met can get through it without screwing it up.
5) He calls racing up the entire Empire State Building one of the most foolish things imaginable: that’s 1,576 stairs, by the way. “You simply cannot get lost,” Hart quips. “You just have to run to the top. And not pass out.”
6) Just because pro wrestling is fake, it doesn’t mean it’s a smart, easy, painless sport. ” As far as the competition aspect, it’s fake,” Hart says, adding, however, that “as far as a performance, it’s real – and very painful.”
7) He was the ball boy at the U.S. Open for three years… and no, he is not an eight-year-old. Pretty mindless job, especially when you’re at risk for getting clocked by a Federer backhand.
8) “I was an ‘amateur caddie’ at a PGA event,” he says, cringing. “It’s five hours of hell. The clubs are heavy. The walk is long and boring and hot. Worst of all: there’s no pay. I volunteered!” Now that’s pretty dumb.