“He Inspired People. He Was Really Good”

Bears Hold Tribute for Past Tennis Player


Alberto Perez Tennis Memorial

Michael Casarez, Reporter/Photo Editor

The Selma High School tennis program posthumously honored Bears’ former player, Alberto Perez, with the weekend memorial.
The event lasted two days, October 1 and 2. It welcomed 72 tennis players from throughout the valley, all members of the Central California Tennis Association (CCTA). The Bears’ junior varsity coach, Ted Reynoso, is the CCTA president.
The Alberto Perez Memorial serves to honor Mr. Perez and bring members together for a competitive tournament.
“It’s great to see this, it’s great to see that he touched people. He inspired people, he was really good with people.” Sylvester Perez, brother of Alberto, says. He also states his appreciation to the league for recognizing Alberto, who was a 1973 Bears alumni.
Alberto Perez had been the No. 1 singles player for Selma High, and was inducted into the Reedley College Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame on July 26, 2021. He was 66 when he passed away on December 18, 2021.
CCTA member Kathryn Villarreal remembers Mr. Perez.
“He always supported the kids a lot and I enjoyed playing with him, playing against him, so he was a lot of fun, a good person,” she said. She has been an active tennis player for over ten years competing in numerous tournaments.
“It’s sad what happened, but to honor somebody who’s been such a part of the tennis community, it’s great to give back to him and honor him in this way,” Villarreal added.
Another CCTA club member is Dr. John Pearce, a specialist in addiction medicine at Corcoran State Prison. He is 64 years of age and has played tennis for 50 years. Dr. Pearce lost in the final to Dr. Bobby Toor.
“You have to make time for the things you like to do, or else you can be consumed by your work. Work is interesting, but you find interests outside of work and you make it a priority to do that on a regular basis,” said Dr. Pearce.
Dr. Toor has been playing tennis for four years. He works at the Valley State Prison in Chowchilla as a specialist in internal medicine and substance abuse.
“I usually try to keep my work light, because some people think working more is the way to go, but I don’t think that. I think work is a means towards an end, so that way I give equal time to work and things outside of work, including things like family and time for myself,” Dr. Toor shared.
The two work for the same department and have grown to know each other through tournaments like these. In honoring Mr. Perez, it reminds us of the contributions and friendships made in the tennis community, as it brought together players who knew him personally and those who hadn’t had the pleasure.
The memorial tournament was sponsored by Sal’s Mexican Restaurant, RMI Insurance, Athletic Designs and Marion Elder. Tournament director and Selma Bears’ head tennis coach, Dan Casarez, had much appreciation and joy to share.
“We felt that this tournament and the new courts are a fitting tribute to Alberto,” said Casarez. “He played on these very courts, helped win some of the titles still posted on courts one and two. He coached many of the players in USTA team events for many years after leaving Selma High School. We’ll have this tournament every year from now on.”
Mr. Casarez added that 100% of the profits made from the tournament will be directly given to the tennis program for things such as ball machines, racket-stringing machines and additional tennis gear.
Mia Balderas, a sophomore and the Bears’ No. 1 player on the girls team, played in the tournament against highly experienced adults.
“It was not only nice to play in the tournament, but to also watch adults play at a higher level. I think playing more adult tournaments will help me improve my game and become a better player overall,” Balderas states.
Alberto Perez will be remembered as an influential tennis coach and player, who supported athletes, and for his unforgettable seasons played for Selma High.