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Photography by Barbara Banks

Sarasota attorney David Silberstein took his love for golf and his dedication to helping young people grow and turned it into a volunteer role as coach for the Sarasota Military Academy high school golf team.

In season, mid-August to mid-October, it’s a 20-hour-a-week commitment. He oversees twice weekly practices for the nine-member team—“Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 7 p.m. at a minimum,” he says—on the team’s home course, the Resort at Longboat Key Club. Silberstein coordinates all team activities, travels to tournaments around the region, and even reports tourney results to the local newspapers. (Last year was a very good season for the boys; they placed third in the district tournament and sixth in the regional tourney in Port Charlotte.)

Silberstein, whose son, Jeremy, attended SMA, founded the golf team in 2009. “The school was fairly young then, with only about 400 students [it now has 1,000 at the high school level and a separate middle school] and the kids needed team sports like that,” he says. "Golf teaches them integrity, responsibility, accountability, honor and respect; it’s the only sport where you have to call your own penalties on yourself. You’re teaching them qualities you hope they keep for life.”

Silberstein, an estate planning attorney who’s been practicing law in Sarasota since 1992, grew the SMA team from a club team into a Florida High School Athletic Association Class 2A team, whose district encompasses Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, DeSoto and Hardee counties. Jeremy graduated in 2010, but Silberstein stayed on.

“I get more out of it than the kids do,” he says. “I feel like I’m doing something to mold these kids into positive young adults. I feel their pain when they don’t do well, and I feel their joy when they do.” Plus, “For me, it’s fun, because I get to watch them grow up.”

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