Don Johnson

Don Johnson

Length: 1374 words (3.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Throughout the United States, the impoverished youth are denied the opportunity to succeed because they lack the inexpensive programs to keep them away from harsh realities flooding the streets. Hence, it is up to motivated individuals to make a difference by creating hope for these children. In March 2006, 65 year old Don Johnson was granted the Bay Area Jefferson Award for encouraging and promoting the betterment of society. Also known as the ‘Tennis Machine’, this tennis coach has spent the last thirty years upholding tennis within the impoverished, urban areas of San Jose as a means for the youth to escape drugs and crime. Over the years, thousands of San Jose children, some who have even succeeded at the tournament level have learned the game at one of Johnson’s programs held at the city’s parks. Tennis Coach Don Johnson is a recipient of the Jefferson Award for being able to use his own troubled history and success story as a motivation to provide kids with a future that that he struggled to have, both on and off the tennis courts.
Johnson’s enthusiasm towards helping the children of San Jose largely comes from both his experiences in Brooklyn and the steps he took towards becoming a professional tennis athlete. Johnson’s teenage years began with a bad start: he lost his dad to a drug overdose (Moody 1). Being raised in an impoverished area of Brooklyn, Johnson was denied both a satisfactory education and constant opportunities to succeed. He found tennis as an escape route from his troubled life. “It was rats and roaches and things like that, and it gave me a change to get away, away where there was green grass. Tennis gave me that, a nice dress code, beautiful clubs, smart people,” explains Johnson during a CBS5 interview (Kelly 1). Opportunities arose as he met a wealthy tennis coach who offered Don a job as an assistant in exchange for tennis lessons. Soon enough, Johnson’s success allowed him to play pro and played on tour from 1969 to 1972. (Moody 1) Furthermore, Johnson was acknowledged by the Northern California African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame and became the first African American initiated into the Northern California US Tennis Association Hall of Fame. During the interview, Johnson commented, “Tennis has been good to me. In some cases it was being black, but I say it was easy because I was the only one out there.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Don Johnson." 17 Jun 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

`` Dangerous Minds ' By Posse Don 't Do Homework By Louanne Johnson Essay

- Dangerous Minds is an 1995 film that is based on the autobiography My Posse Don 't Do Homework by LouAnne Johnson. Ms. Johnson was once a U.S. Marine, who around the 1989 became a teacher in Carlmont High School in Belmont, California. She was very eager to teach, but was stunned by the quick response of an open position. However, she later found out the reason for the opening. On her first day she was greeted by disrespectful students who called her names and where in their own worlds, not paying attention to her....   [tags: Teacher, Education, School, Dangerous Minds]

Research Papers
1816 words (5.2 pages)

Essay on Analysis Of Miguel De Cervantes ' Don Quixote

- Reading comes alive as the reader falls into the author’s voice and connects to the protagonist. When individuals read they involuntarily relate themselves to the protagonist. Therefore, a slightly different meanings of the story is created based on the individual’s personal experiences and beliefs. For instance, a novel could be considered a humorous parody of chivalric romance, but another individual could view the work as containing a serious philosophical message. This is a common scenario for Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote in which individuals can conclude many different meaning, and character analysis....   [tags: Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes, Novel, Dulcinea]

Research Papers
1364 words (3.9 pages)

President Lyndon B. Johnson Essay

- In the 1960’s America was divided over the voting rights of African Americans. It was a time of racial and political unrest as president Lyndon B. Johnson encouraged Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act. On March 16, 1965 “We Shall Overcome” was delivered to congress. Lyndon B. Johnson was elected vice president of the United States in 1960 and became the 36th president in 1963. Throughout his speech Johnson uses a variety of strategies to persuade the nation that African Americans have the right to vote....   [tags: Lyndon B. Johnson, United States]

Research Papers
1515 words (4.3 pages)

Dangerous Minds By Louanne Johnson Essay

- film, Dangerous Minds, follows the story of Louanne Johnson, an ex-U.S. Marine. Set in 1989, the story begins with Louanne entering into her first year teaching at an inner-city school with underprivileged youths, where she explores the challenges of teaching her students, and the necessary steps it takes to reach them. Roughly based on the autobiography, My Posse Don’t Do Homework, Dangerous Minds shows a social depiction of the forces of stratification and poverty, the bureaucracy of our educational system, and the subcultures that exist within that framework (Johnson, 2007)....   [tags: Education, Sociology, LouAnne Johnson, Max Weber]

Research Papers
1073 words (3.1 pages)

Essay about President Lyndon B. Johnson

- When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, TX on November 22, 1963, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson took over to become president. At this time, the situation in Vietnam had become very difficult. The South Vietnamese government was breaking up and in many areas in South Vietnam, the Viet Cong was advancing. President Kennedy had committed limited troops to Vietnam during his time and the new President Johnson pledged that he would honor this commitment. Early in his presidency, Johnson worked to continue with the same commitment that Kennedy made and did not want to escalate the war....   [tags: Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Vietnam War]

Research Papers
1064 words (3 pages)

Themes in White Noise by Don DeLillo Essay

- White Noise “The world…is crowded, not necessarily with occupants and not at all with memorable experiences, but with happenings; it is a ceaseless flow of seductive trivialities which invoke neither reflection, nor choice but instant participation.” (Oakeshott) The idea of the lacking of realness is one of the major themes carried out throughout the novel White Noise by Don DeLillo, especially through the device of the television. “For most people there are only two places in the world. Where they live and their TV set....   [tags: White Noise Don DeLillo]

Research Papers
2251 words (6.4 pages)

Gary Johnson And The Libertarian View Essay

- Essay 2: Gary Johnson and the Libertarian view Gary Johnson is the libertarian candidate running for president. The libertarian party believes in personal liberty, economic liberty and securing liberty. The libertarian candidate is definitely not in the mainstream of the media or high in the polls. In Nevada according to a poll from Monmouth University, he has about 7% of the population is expected to vote for him. His party is considered more of a long shot in regards to winning the presidency especially since they are not the standard Democrat or Republican....   [tags: Illegal immigration]

Research Papers
875 words (2.5 pages)

Lyndon Baines Johnson and his Presidency Essay

- Lyndon Baines Johnson was born on August 27, 1908 and died on January 22, 1973. Johnson was a great president he was liked by many and everyone always had good things to say about him. Johnson was only 55 years old when he became president and was one of only four people who had served in all four elected federal offices of the United States. Johnson had moved quite quickly when he established himself as the President. Johnson supported the largest reform agenda since Roosevelt’s New Deal. In 1960 on July 13th Johnson was nominated for President of the United States by Sam Rayburn, a Speaker of the House of Representatives....   [tags: Vietnam, Education, Communism]

Research Papers
1099 words (3.1 pages)

Samuel Johnson’s Relationship With Women Essay

- The way in which Samuel Johnson is depicted in Life of Johnson by James Boswell differs in various way from other biographers of Johnson as well as other works of Johnson. In Jeffrey Meyer’s Samuel Johnson: the struggle Johnson’s relationship with women is shown differently than it was in Life of Johnson. In Life of Johnson Boswell tries to depict a very manly and masculine Johnson. Whereas in Meyer’s biography of Johnson readers are able to see a side of Johnson that isn’t as chauvinistic and is sympathetic towards women....   [tags: Biography, Personal Life]

Research Papers
949 words (2.7 pages)

Samuel Johnson’s Relationship with Women Essay

- Samuel Johnson is not only known for his texts such as Rasselas and The Rambler but also because of the beliefs that he held about various aspects of society. One aspect of society in particular that he was very vocal about, was how he viewed women and the relationship he had with women. The primary way people are able to formulate opinions on Johnson and women is through James Boswell’s Life of Johnson. However, at times Boswell’s text or inclusion of certain passages and entries isn’t telling of how Johnson actually felt or how other biographers characterized him....   [tags: Biography, Personal Life]

Research Papers
1005 words (2.9 pages)

Related Searches

” (Kelly 2)
His life began to take a different turn when he met his mentor: legendary player Arthur Ashe. In New York, Ashe and Johnson spent six years setting up and running the city’s first national junior tennis league program. It allowed more children to have a shot at tennis, the way Ashe and Johnson were lucky to have (Moody 2). Johnson brought this compassion here to the Bay Area when he moved to San Jose with his wife in 1976. “Arthur was my inspiration, mild manner genius, he was just what I needed to take that fire in me and control it. I promised Arthur Ashe that I would keep the fuse lit, that I would everyday strike a match and put it out there,” commented Johnson. (Kelly 1)
Today, Johnson’s programs include both private and group clinics as part of his Los Paseos Lobsters Junior Tennis Program. The group clinics on the weekends and after school allow him to work with the numerous kids who are picking up tennis. Also he charges almost nothing in comparison to what other professional coaches charge (Moody 1). In fact, his junior tennis programs are free this summer (Kelly 1) Sometimes, Johnson even pays part of the cost to enter the programs for kids out of his own pocket. A SFGate article honoring Johnson said he has coached more than 100,000 students from ages two to eighteen since he moved to San Jose in 1976. (Moody 1)
Even his private lessons have been a success. He gave some kids an opportunity they would have never dreamed of unless Johnson made them work for it. “I train them hard. I don’t let them get away with anything because I didn’t get away with anything. I make it tough for them. I still have that drive in me that I had in New York. My mother used to say, ‘If you work hard, it will pay off’. I was taught that when you’ve got something, hold onto it,” emphasized Johnson (Kelly 1). 14 year old Tayler Davis is junior tennis champion who has been coached by Johnson since he was 8. Today, Tayler owns over 77 trophies and is ranked No. 1 in the girl’s 14 age division in Northern California and No. 11 in the United States. During an interview, she commented “Coach Johnson taught me how to respect people, and I’ve learned that you have to put in hard work to be successful in tennis and anything in life.” (Moody 2)
To Johnson, his lessons are more than just teaching tennis. Johnson acknowledges that ‘teaching the sport allows him to teach other things important for success: education, sportsmanship, professionalism, respect for others, hard work, and discipline.’ (Kelly 1) Doug Fitzpatrick, father of one of Johnson’s students agrees. “The man is so great at what he does. He does so much for the kids and the community. He taught [my son] a lot of discipline. He had to wear uniforms. He [is] strict on these things, but the kids love it.” (Kelly 1) His approach can be summarized on a plaque he recently receive from certain dignitaries of San Jose and other tennis fans from the Los Paseos Association Board that states “Johnson teaches more than tennis; he teaches character." (Los Paseos 3).
Johnson’s efforts have given opportunities for kids who do not have much to look forward to. The majority of the children attending Johnson’s tennis clinics come from lower class families and attend schools with low standardized test scores. The crime rate is high and drugs ravish the streets. It is a community similar to that of which Johnson grew up in Brooklyn. Therefore, Johnson has provided a costless means by which the youth can escape disaster by focusing their time and attention on tennis.
Instead of spending after school hours on the streets, Johnson invites kids to hit with each other at the nearby tennis courts. Although he trains them hard, he is able to motivate them to come back the next day. In wealthy communities like Pleasanton, the cost of a single tennis lesson ranges from sixty dollars or more. However, Johnson promises four times as many lessons per week. (Moody 1) This allows Johnson to make sure that the kids and their parents have no reason to lure themselves away from his program.
Don Johnson has made an improvement to society by giving the youth the chance to have something to look forward to. These kids are the world’s future and Johnson is securing their success. Everyday the tennis coach steps onto the courts with the children, he increases the chances that each of those kids will be able to leave a life of poverty and reach somewhere successful.
As a success story himself, Johnson has earned the Jefferson award for using tennis as a means by which the poor children of San Jose can avoid the dangers of drugs and crime. Two years ago, Johnson held a tournament in San Jose that I attended and participated in. Unlike other tournaments where the athletes are only awarded for winning their matches, he awarded a few players who displayed respect and maturity on the court with his own ‘Citizenship Award’. One of the recipients was former Foothill student Chris Summerlin (Class of 2006). On the trophy, Johnson’s words were printed: “The Tennis court is a place of competition and education”.


Moody, Shelah. "JEFFERSON AWARD: Presented to Don Johnson." SFGate. 2 Apr. 2006. 18 Feb. 2008

Kelly, Kate. Interview with Don Johnson. CBS5. 15 Mar. 2006. 18 Feb. 2008 .

"Los Paseos Association." SouthSanJose.Com. Los Paseos Association. 18 Feb. 2008 .

"Don Johnson: Using Tennis to Teach Life Skills." Cbs5. 15 Mar. 2006. 18 Feb. 2008 .
Return to