FCC ball crew members living tennis dream

Pictured above is 12-year-old Caroline Mitchum waiting on a serve from Mariana Erakovic in the match against Serena Williams, top left, on Thursday. (Blaire Seifried/WCIV)

By Blaire SeifriedSpecial to

DANIEL ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) -- With the Family Circle Cup back in town, people are coming out to Daniel Island to watch the players in action.

Serena Williams, and other professionals run all over the court to keep up with the game, but they aren't the only people speeding around, making moves. The ball crew is also hard at work on the sidelines.

Two crew members watch the net, and at least two more are posted at each baseline.

The ball crew is an important part of the game, and being a part of the crew is very important to the girls that do it. The girls sacrifice school, sleep and free time to be a part of the volunteer program.

After the training classes on Saturdays come to an end, the Family Circle Cup begins. The ball crew works from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and has been known to stay as late as 11 p.m.

Many of the girls have been participating in the Family Circle Cup for the last two to six years, and all of them want to continue doing so until they graduate high school.

Fifteen-year-old crew member Eva McLaurin is in her sixth year as a crew member.

"It's really cool, because you get to see how the players play and start to think it through your head. Then, you see how you can put that into your game and just get to learn from them," McLaurin said.

Ask them and McLaurin and others will tell you they do the job for the love of the sport. The ball crew girls share dreams of one day becoming professional tennis players.

When asked what her favorite part of the job is, 12-year-old Caroline Mitchum said, "I like to be on the court with the players. It's something the public doesn't get to do."

"We have this great opportunity, and most of us are just kids and would have never dreamed of getting to do this," she said.