Just a short anecdote about boys and their balls...
My 15 month old's new favorite toy and favorite new word is "ball." He always wants to play with his ball. In the store, in the car, and tonight at dinner he wanted to play with his ball. At dinner he incessantly demanded to play with his ball while flinging peas and meatloaf across the dining room.
After many attempts at "No, eat your veggies," he continued to say, "ball!" Being the mediating mother that I am, I said "you can play with your ball after you eat your vegetables like a good boy."
That was it, he happily scarfed down the remaining veggies and eagerly awaited his play time.
The moral of the story: Even from 15 months, men will agree to do just about anything if they can play with their ball(s).