By Kevin Wittner
TUCSON, Ariz. – Teams come and go at the various USTA League National Championships, but for the last seven years of nationals in Tucson and Surprise, Ariz., there has been one constant: DJ Warren B.
A child of the disco era, Warren Bonesteel has been a disc jockey for 13 years, playing roughly 60 events annually. He can be found at Tucson-area weddings, company events, holiday parties, schools functions, or in the USTA’s case – player parties.
When teams arrive for their respective national championships on the Thursday before the tournament, team captains gather for registration and an administrative meeting late in the afternoon. The real action gets started that evening.
"Reaching nationals is a crowning achievement for USTA League players, and as such, we want to provide them with a world-class experience throughout the weekend," USTA national league coordinator Amy Schultz said. "The player party is a great way for the teams to celebrate making it here, and DJ Warren B. helps us to set a high energy level for the entire weekend."
Bonesteel says that he especially enjoys the opportunity to bring people from across the country together.
"These people have come from all over the country to come to Tucson," Bonesteel said. "I want for them to have a great time and to have a reception really kicks that off the weekend.
"In my mind, I am really going to try to get them to interact with each other. It is a blast to see these players come from all over, meet on the dance floor and leave as friends."
At the very least, Bonesteel achieved his goal with Southern section captain Nick Giallourakis.
"People were having a good time, the food was good, and it was a good chance to meet people from all over the country," Giallourakis said. "It’s always good to meet new people, and everybody has a common bond through tennis, so it is easy to strike up a conversation."
Linda Whitman of the Northern California team agrees.
"The DJ was phenomenal. It was like an entertainment program, rather than just music," Whitman said. "I think we all got out and danced because he was engaging with all of us. We met lots of people there that night."
In his DJ Warren B. persona, Bonesteel works the crowd by dancing the cha-cha, frequently does his Michael Jackson impression and will break out an air guitar at least once a night.
While his antics fire up partygoers, there are usually two people weary of the act.
"My wife and I have been married 22 years, and we have two daughters – ages 20 and 14 – who roll their eyes whenever they see on the dance floor," Bonesteel laughs. "My wife lets me dance any way I want, as long as she is not there to [be embarrassed by] it."
Regardless of the collateral damage caused by the inevitable mental anguish to Bonesteel’s daughters, the USTA players always seem to leave happy, and that’s the point of the party, right?