Tennis pro David Sparks is leaving the Longboat Key Public Tennis Center, where he has worked since its inception. He says it’s because he isn’t a teenager anymore.
“It’s a young guy’s job,” he says.
Sparks is one of the few remaining original employees of the Tennis Center. When it opened in November 1998, Sparks joined the Public Tennis Center employees as one of two of its pros.
“It was an unbelievably great experience,” he says of his past 13 years.
He’s seen it all: a small shed-like building transformed into a 1,750-square-foot, two-story building housing the pro shop office, restrooms and showers and the center growing from six to 10 courts.
“The Tennis Center has done more for our community for Longboat Key than anything else,” he says.
But the bigger facility wasn’t what made the huge impact on Sparks — it was the people. He says he will remember most the individuals he has worked with and for.
“It is just a special place,” he says. “It really brings people together.”
Sparks says he will visit Longboat Key often.
“He’s been here since the beginning ... he’s part of the center,” says Kay Thayer manager of the Tennis Center. “He won’t be easily replaced.”
The Longboat Key Public Tennis Center has already courted a new pro, Eric Hinchman, who has started giving lessons. Hinchman worked as the tennis pro at The Colony Beach & Tennis Resort from 2006 to its close.
“I’m happy to be back out on Longboat!” Hinchman says.
If You Go
Celebration for David Sparks
When: 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 5
Where: Gulf Drive Café, Anna Maria Island
Info: Call 316-8367
Currently 0 Responses
19 Longboat Key Fine Art Festival
9:00 am - 9:00 pm
19 Mote's Party on the Pass
22 Nia with Gail on Anna Maria Island
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
23 Nia with Gail on Longboat Key
11:30 am - 12:30 pm
A Cinderella story
A 10-week-old miniature pinscher puppy found a “happily ever after ending” at the Celebration of Pets April 12, at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds.
Pharmacy brings dose of medicine to Publix
The in-store pharmacy of Longboat Key Publix opened Monday, approximately 16 months after the completion of the new store at 525 Bay Isles Parkway, in the Shoppes of Bay Isles.
Golfer scores victory with less than a stroke
The Longboat Key Masters Golf Tournament, which took place March 28 through March 31, at the Resort at Longboat Key Club’s Islandside and Harbourside golf courses came down to less than one stroke’s difference between first-place winner Kevin Preston and second-place winner Michael Russell, of Longboat Key.