Director of Culinary and Nutrition Services
Tryon Estates, ACTS Retirement Communities
Born in: Allentown, Pa.
Grew up in: Boca Raton, Fla.
Education: Attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Palm Beach Atlantic University
in West Palm Beach, Fla., and the University of Florida in Gainesville
Married with three children
Gordie High, director of culinary and nutrition services at 454-resident Tryon Estates in Columbus, N.C., was the stereotypical all-American athlete. He was the starting point guard for the high school basketball team, the quarterback
on the football team and the third-ranked diver in Pennsylvania. But tennis is the one sport High has continued to play as an adult.
“The gentleman I was named after was an avid tennis player. He was my dad’s best friend. At the age of 12, he bought me a tennis racket, took me out on the courts and got me interested in playing. I played all through high school and I played in tournaments and round robins during college. As I got into my twenties, there were a lot of local clubs and tournaments. I would sign up to play singles and I had a buddy who wanted to play, so we would sign up for doubles’ tournaments. Currently, I play every Tuesday and Thursday nights. It’s our outlet during the week.
As my kids got older and saw me playing, they got interested. Then it became something for me to do with the boys. They were No. 1 and No. 2 on the high school tennis team for a couple of years. My oldest, who just turned 20, plays in a USTA (United States Tennis Association) league like I do. My younger son is going to play tennis for Mars Hill College in Asheville, N.C. So having the boys interested and playing at a pretty high level has kept me on my toes. They push me. Kids run so much that they just wear me out. I try to outhit them and all they do is outrun me.
I play in a men’s league, with people aged between 19 and 63. It’s amazing that the level of play as you get older doesn’t necessarily change. The older guys just get really smart. The young guys try to hit hard and run fast. But it all equals out in the end. It’s fun for all ages, which is the part of sports like golf and tennis that I really enjoy. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, you can still participate at the level of your choosing.
We normally have matches on Sunday afternoons. There’s probably 20 or 30 of us in town that play on the same level, so there is always someone who wants to play. It’s enjoyable because we can mix up the opponents.
My game is better equipped for doubles, but I enjoy singles more. As I get closer to 50, doubles becomes more fun because you don’t have to run as much. Tennis is the one sport that you know you are going to get a good workout. My favorite surface to play on is the soft courts or green clay. Soft surfaces are fun because the bounce and pass of the ball are different. I play with a lot of spin and a lot of cut, and the ball reacts differently on that surface than on a hard court. The soft courts are also easier on the joints.
The other thing that I think is fun is that many of the residents at Tryon Estates still play tennis, and they are always interested in the boys or me. I see them on the tennis court and we talk. It’s something I have in common with them. When I worked at another location, I would play with the residents.
You don’t get a lot of people coming out to play tennis as kids. I don’t know if it’s because we don’t do a good job of pushing it at a young age. By the time you get into high school, it’s almost too late to start.
I was an Andre Agassi fan growing up. I loved to watch him and Pete Sampras play. They were some of the greatest rivals.”