Organizer of the Month
USTA Eastern | April 23, 2018
The Sage of Tennis
Tennis has been paramount in Gordon Sage’s life. Known affectionately as “Gordy” by family and friends, the veteran U.S. marine from Buffalo, New York, picked up a tennis racquet for the first time at age 42 when his soon-to-be wife and father in-law invited him to play. Gordy fell in love with tennis, so much so that he and his wife decided to get married at their local tennis club (and second home), Miller Tennis Center in Williamsville, NY. “Everyone played tennis at my wedding!” Sage said. “Guests came in tennis clothes. It was the perfect day all around.”
Shortly after Gordy got into a tennis groove, he signed up to play on a USTA League 3.0 Men’s team. Gordy moved up the ranks quickly and is a solid 4.0 player today. Along the way, Gordy began volunteering to serve as a team captain, forming the infamous “Team Sage.” The first team he captained was a 3.5 team that made it to nationals and became #9 in the country. “Team Sage is like a brand now!” says Sage. ADVERTISEMENT “The name brought so much good luck and fortune, I had to keep the name for both 3.5 and 4.0 teams.”
Even though Gordy eventually bumped up to 4.0, he still continues to advise his former 3.5 team and offers his continued support. Gordy ‘s current 4.0 team has high hopes for heading to the USTA League National Championships again and he is very proud of all of his past and current teammates for their heroic efforts and achievements.
Being a part of a USTA league team has made a positive difference in his life, and those on his tennis team as well. The relationships, comradery and bonds that Gordy has formed are what make tennis so special for him. Gordy strives to do what’s best for the team as a whole and as a unit, not just for the individual. Prior to upcoming matches, Gordy often walks his team members to the courts and offers a helpful pep talk. He does this often for his singles players who would otherwise walk to the court alone, without a partner. “Playing singles is like going into combat,” Sage said. “You have to be mentally prepared for anything on your own.”
Tennis has also played an important role in aiding Gordy’s recovery from his days serving in Desert Storm. Gordy was on active duty for four years, and then served two years in the reserves, and subsequently battled post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Gordy credits his tennis play as a contributing factor to his healing and recovery. “Tennis has definitely played a huge part in my overall physical and emotional well-being and I am very thankful for that.”
In addition to serving as a team captain, Gordy also assists his local high school boy’s tennis team and routinely helps the students with their volleys and overheads, since he is a doubles specialist. He enjoys continuing to be in mentorship and leadership roles. Being a captain of the USTA league teams offers an important feeling of fulfillment to him. “Captaining a USTA league team is very rewarding,” said Sage. “Being a part of a team and pushing my teammates to do their very best is always a great feeling.”
To learn more about USTA League tennis or to inquire about serving as a team captain, please contact Lauren Bull, USTA Eastern Manager of Adult Leagues.