Essential Worker Spotlight: Darla Antonis
Forty years in a career won’t prepare anyone for a pandemic. But in the case of Darla Antonis, her wide range of experience — and the outlook that comes with it — certainly helped.
A dental hygienist, educator and tennis player living in Nazareth, Pa., Antonis is actively working with patients on their oral care while navigating the struggles of the dental field during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Antonis mentioned that it has been challenging getting patients back on schedule since dentistry was put on hold for almost 11 weeks during the early stages of the pandemic.
“During this time frame patients were not able to seek care,” she said. “Since June we have been busy doing our best to see patients who are past due,” she said. “There is a correlation between oral and systemic health. People are well aware how important dental care is because one of our roles as dental professionals is to provide education on the importance of oral health.”
The perfect distraction turned out to be tennis.
“There are many things I love about tennis,” she said. “Most of all I love how it brings people together. This summer I was fortunate to have been in a summer evening contract with three area dentists. Tennis is just what we needed after working all day. As we played, we discussed how we were managing our way through a pandemic. We were supporting each other while doing what we love to do: playing tennis.”
Antonis’ involvement in tennis goes back several years, as she’s played and captained teams in the Eastern Pennsylvania District (EPD) at every opportunity since she joined the USTA in 2013. Her 2018 Raquettes team advanced to USTA League National Championships. She’s helped form teams in the women’s 2.5, men’s 3.0 and mixed 6.0 levels.
Most recently, Antonis earned a spot on the USTA Middle States EPD Council, where she volunteers her time to grow, promote and develop the growth of tennis in her area and beyond.