By Daniel Bukszpan

Professional sports are as competitive as it gets, though sadly, not everyone gets to play. For every athlete who makes the cut and plays at the professional level, there are countless others who will never be so lucky.

Sometimes a promising career is hobbled by an injury, or an athlete's performance just isn't up to snuff. The reasons behind the dashed dreams of aspiring athletes are many.

Click here for more from
Slideshow: Top jobs for sports fans

But just because a team only has nine spots doesn't mean there isn't a place near the action. Just as a rock concert needs roadies, and a political rally needs Secret Service agents, so, too, do athletes need people in various capacities to make the whole operation run smoothly. After all, without someone in the pit crew, a NASCAR driver would have to change tires while competitors race by.

Some of these jobs pay handsomely. Steve Williams, who until recently served as caddy to Tiger Woods, reportedly earned over $1 million in 2006 alone. Rick Fuhs, a legend in his native Chicago, has been operating the manual scoreboard at Wrigley Field for more than 20 years. He doesn't see a fraction of the paycheck that Williams does, but the lifelong Cubs fan couldn't care less. "I would do this for nothin'," he said.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to read them first!

While athletes live on in history books and halls of fame, other figures exert an influence on fans that is almost as powerful as that of a sports celebrity. Among them is the announcer, whose booming voice reverberates across the stadium.

Though the job is high-profile, it isn't high paying. Despite the relatively low pay, sticking with the job might confer legendary status, as it did with announcer Bob Sheppard. He did the job for the New York Yankees over the course of 56 years and 4,500 games -- and he was referred to by former Yankee great Reggie Jackson as "The Voice of God."

What are some of the other careers in the field of sports that are performed outside of the spotlight? Click ahead to find out.

Top Jobs For Sports Fans Slideshow



Few professionals in any field are more likely to have their judgment called into question than a referee. The official is regularly accused by sports fans of blindness, insanity, and rank dishonesty, all for having the nerve to put on a striped shirt and officiate a game.


Physical Therapist

Athletes get hurt -- that's just the cost of doing business. The average athlete can suffer multiple injuries in the course of a career, such as shin splints, concussions, and the dreaded ACL tear. After the initial damage has been treated by a doctor, the athlete must then begin the long process of rehabilitation.



Organized cheerleading at American sporting events is more than a century old. When the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders made their first high-profile appearance during the 1976 Super Bowl, the image of this vocation changed. Many other NFL teams immediately got with the program and began organizing their own scantily-clad squads, but the Dallas crew remains the one that galvanized public attention.


Rodeo Clown

Fans of rodeo go to see rough and rowdy cowpokes in 10-gallon hats and fringed chaps. As they ride bucking broncos and hog-tie panicked steers, they anger the beasts, who would like nothing better than to exact their vengeance by maiming them. Enter the rodeo clown, whose job it is to wear face paint and baggy britches, and distract the enraged beast away.


Ball Boy/Girl

As the job description implies, a ball boy or ball girl runs onto the field and retrieves balls for players in multiple sports, such as baseball and tennis. The job requires stamina, a nimble build, and most importantly, the patience required to run back and forth all day long.

previous next

Click here for full slideshow.

-- Check out Sports Biz with Darren Rovell.