BY PATRICIA SPARROW-COEFIELD
Black History Moment: In 1976, Oakridge High School (Orlando, FL) Athletic Department accepted Patricia Sparrow onto the Ladies Tennis Team, making her the first African American player to compete on a high school level for the school.
As a child, growing up in Orlando, FL, Patricia was a natural athlete. She started playing tennis with her friend Scott, hitting the ball back and forth on Banneka Street with no net. Often, they would walk or borrow a bike to ride to Hankins Park to play tennis. Patricia could not afford to be coached so she worked hard and self-taught herself, earning a spot playing singles (4th) and doubles (2nd). As a scholarly athlete, Patricia did well academically and on the courts. Although, she didn’t get to compete on a college level, she continued to play leisurely for many years beyond high school.