Celebrating Black History Month: Anthony "Tony" David
Age is just a number, and that number hasn’t stopped Anthony “Tony” David from leveling up his game within tennis. When he was 66 years old, Tony decided he wanted to start teaching the game of tennis, and since then he has made a positive impact in the Pine Hills community.
Now retired, Tony spends his free time taking underprivileged kids to Rosemont Neighborhood Center and playing sports with them. While there, he noticed the tennis court and how no one was using them. “So, what I did was go online, go on YouTube and look up how to play tennis,” he said.
To encourage these kids to learn the sport, Tony would go to thrift stores and anywhere else he could find tennis rackets for them to use. “I got everybody a racket and we had like 20 kids, so I would just copy what I saw on YouTube.”
However, after some time Tony felt that he wasn’t helping these kids as much as he could. “I felt I couldn't really teach anymore because I didn't know that much,” he recalled. “So, I called around and I found the Orlando Tennis Center.”
After contacting the Orlando Tennis Center and waiting over a year, Tony was finally able to get some help teaching the children. One of their pros worked with them, but Tony wanted to do more for them.
Thanks to some help from Scott Thorton, Orlando Tennis Center Manager, Tony was able to get in contact with people at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona. “That’s when I really got started, they got me into a class, where I could learn to coach.” This led to Tony getting his coaching certification.
Not only does Tony love to teach kids and be a role model to them, but he also believes that every child deserves to play sports while growing up. “They learn discipline and they learn control and other key lessons like that [from sports].”
Why is it important to celebrate Black History Month
“Black history is American history,” he said. “Growing up we were always taught that we have to learn history so that the bad part of history is not repeated,” It’s important to Tony because he said people tend to judge others based on their appearance, where they live, or their financial situation.
“I teach the kids to respect people. They're aware of the situation in this country, but I think they've learned to listen to people and see what they have to say, before they judge them.” Everyone deserves a chance and Tony makes sure to deliver that message to them.
He also strives to be the best role model possible and seeing the kids take what he teaches and apply it to life is the ultimate reward. “I never really had guidance from many adults when I was growing up,” he recalled. “So, just to see the kids respond to me, and they love me to death, that gives me the joy to see them improving school wise and tennis wise. That's what I get a kick out of, that's why I wake up early in the morning every day.”
Tony is proud to be changing the lives of the youth and thanks USTA and USTA Florida for helping support the black community. “I think USTA is doing good, trying to reach out into the communities, getting people like Louis Bolling and others out there and making an effort to go into the black communities to get people involved.”
Black history is and should be important to everyone because at the end of the day we’re all the same living with one another. “We all bleed the same way, we’re all human beings and we have to know our history,” Tony said.