New Orleans brothers use tennis, academics, NJTL on pathway to success
Being involved in tennis means having fun, meeting new people, and enjoying the many volunteer opportunities. Yet we all took different routes to get there. Some of us took traditional routes to tennis while some of us took non-traditional routes. One of the joys of the sport is to hear about how people began their tennis journey. Each story is impactful and can be re-told countless times.
Brothers William and James Bostick, of New Orleans, took an interesting route to playing tennis. They are now tennis instructors with A’s & Aces, a local NJTL. Post-Katrina, their parents, William Bostick Sr., a CPA, and Elizabeth Bostick, a clinical pharmacist, were looking for a summer camp for their sons. At the time, William was 10 years old, and James was 8 years old. Neither had ever picked up a tennis racket, bounced a tennis ball or knew the difference between 30-love and love-30. Everything, tennis wise was new and unfamiliar. At about this same time, A’s & Aces was in its infancy stages. Of course, now it has received three USTA Southern awards for its innovative programming and wide community impact.
Elizabeth said, “My husband and I kind of stumbled upon A’s & Aces. The game of tennis wasn’t on our radar screen.” William added, “We knew about the game and watched a little on television, but that was about it. Our sons didn’t have an interest in the game. We were just looking for a summer outlet for the boys to keep them busy.”
I have learned over time if you put people in the right place at the right time, then good things can happen. This is what occurred when William and James were paired with A’s & Aces. Something clicked and it hasn’t stopped clicking. The mission of A’s & Aces is to provide academic assistance, life skills, and tennis to New Orleans children and others who seek access to high-quality academic assistance and tennis. It was founded by former Tulane coaches David Schumacher and Anna Monhartova.
The positive experiences led the two brothers to enroll in the year around program. It was a great decision for them. William Jr. said, “What I liked about the program is they combined academics and tennis. I was able to grow both academically and in tennis.” James said, “Having the academic enrichment indirectly helped to shape my tennis game because you have to think quickly on the court.”
As they are instructors, they are passing on the hope and opportunity they were given to the next generation of tennis scholars.
Schumacher said, “William and James had great tennis instincts which led them to competing at a high level in junior tournaments while being exceptional scholars.”
Monhartova said, “Both young men have been excellent student-athlete ambassadors for A’s & Aces and for the game of tennis. They relate well to the students because they remember being in their shoes.”
I had the chance to see firsthand the tennis and social prowess of the Bostick brothers because of a tennis partnership last year.
These young men are graduates of Jesuit High School in New Orleans where they were members of the tennis team and competed for championships. Both are now students at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and both are recipients of the prestigious Chancellor’s Scholarship.
William has a major of Pre-Med and James has a major of Human and Organizational Development. Both have received two national awards (one from USTA), four USTA Southern, eight USTA Louisiana awards and a total of 24 honors. In 2019, James won the USTA National NJTL Essay Contest and traveled to the US Open in New York City to receive the award. Moreover, in 2021, James was a recipient of the USTA Foundation’s Donald Lawson Tisdel College Scholarship.
William is scheduled to graduate in May of 2023 and James aims to graduate in 2025. Prior to enrolling at Vanderbilt, they had many other scholarship offers. Schools that showed interest included Loyola Marymount University (Calif.), Fordham University (N.Y.), and the University of Notre Dame (Ind.). They started off in a modest and unassuming way playing tennis without cheers and fanfare. Now they are members of the Vanderbilt club tennis team.
With the guidance of their parents and the support of A’s & Aces, they have become role models for others to follow and to emulate. It is now their chance to turn someone else’s curiosity into realizing their hopes and dreams.
James B. Ewers Jr. Ed.D. is a member of the Black Tennis Hall of Fame and
the former chair of the USTA Louisiana Diversity and Inclusion Committee.