Throughout Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, USTA Florida is honoring those that help grow the sport of tennis not only for the AAPI community but for communities across the Section and beyond.
John Faminial of Jupiter, who grew up playing at the Palm Beach Gardens Tennis Center, now hits the courts of Jupiter’s Carlin Park with his family. Faminial and several of his family members aren’t just tennis players – they’re also health care providers who have dedicated their lives to keeping others safe and served on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic. USTA Florida caught up with Faminial about how tennis has contributed to his life and how his heritage has shaped who he is today.
Tennis is clearly a big part of your life. When did you first pick up a racquet?
Yes, tennis is a big part of my life! I was still living in the Philippines about 15 years ago when I first started to pick up a tennis racquet.
What do you love most about tennis?
What I love about playing tennis is that it keeps me in shape and helps me stay healthy. I can also create a great bond and make friends on the tennis courts.
Does your family play tennis?
Yes, my father introduced the game to me at a young age and when my father was away to work abroad, I was able to teach and pass it to my siblings. All four children in my family play tennis.
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How has your heritage shaped the person you are today?
My heritage has taught me to be a hard worker, trustworthy, God-fearing, and respectful person.
Does your family have any traditions that are especially important to you?
Yes, our family celebrate mostly all holidays, but I think Christmas is the main highlight every year since it is the celebration of Jesus Christ Birthday.
Why is it important to not only support and celebrate other cultures, but be inclusive to all?
I think it is important to be inclusive to all celebrations of different cultures, to show that we value and respect their beliefs, and to show equality and strong relationship in the community.
What hospital/medical facility do you and your family work at?
My family and I work at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center. I am a Respiratory Therapist.
What can you tell us about your experience on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Working during this time of pandemic as a frontline worker I can say that it has been a physically, emotionally, and mentally challenging experience. It has been challenging to see patients struggle and as a respiratory therapist, it is my job to help them improve their breathing. It is always a rewarding feeling to be a part of the patient’s care and be able to help them get better.
How are you staying mentally tough during a very prolonged, stressful situation?
I always tried to be positive during this stressful and prolonged situation in critical care, and I always look at the bright side of all the work that we do which is to save lives.