On a vacation trip to Ceará, my youngest son and I went to watch a game of Brazilian championship at Arena Castelão. During the break, we talk about the work of ball boys (or ball boys), who watch the games from a very privileged place.
I then told him the history of the origin of the name of the “ball catcher”.
Yes, all over the world, in different languages, the function is treated as a ball catcher: ball catcher (Portuguese from Portugal), recogepelotas (Spanish), ball boy or ball girl (English), ramasseur de balles (French) and raccattapalle (Italian), just to name a few examples.
How did they get the name “Gandula” in Brazil?
Here, there is a version involving the Argentine Bernardo Gandulla, winger of the Vasco da Gama in the year 1939.
The player came from Ferro Carril Oeste, from Buenos Aires, to compete in the Carioca Championship. But he was unable to play for a month because of problems with his transfer.
Even without acting, he stayed on the edge of the field, replacing the ball quickly for teammates and opponents. Hence, when the Carioca Football League decided to make the function official, in 1940, the name of Gandulla was remembered. And so she was baptized.
Was Gandulla a good player?
Yes, it was, although his time at Vasco was not so incredible. He played 29 matches (ten wins, eight draws and eleven losses).
Gandulla was Argentine champion twice for the Boca Juniors, club that he also coached in the late 1950s. He died in 1999, at age 83, he was buried in the Boca Juniors Mausoleum, which is inside the Chacarita Cemetery.
Argentina’s most famous singer, Carlos Gardel, is buried there as well.
Why do you say this is a version?
In 2011, I interviewed one of Bernardo Gandulla’s grandchildren in Buenos Aires. He confirmed the story, which he said he had heard from his own grandfather. The Houaiss dictionary also has this version.
Respected Brazilian researchers, however, guarantee that the term had already been used since the early 1930s — before Gandulla defended Vasco.
The word would have come from “gandulo”, which means stray boy, without occupation. She was referring to the boys who watched football games around the fields.
Ah, yes, the game we went to see at Castelão was Fortaleza 0 x saints 0. Too many missed shots all the time. The ball boys had work that night!
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