PM360 recently spoke to Phil Rackliffe, CEO, Centerline Biomedical, about picking the tennis racquet back up.
PM360: How did you first get into playing tennis? Have you won any awards?
Phil Rackliffe: As a high-spirited child with four older siblings I have always been quite competitive. When I was in 6th grade, my brother-in-law took me to the community courts, put a tennis racquet in my hand, and taught me the game. This was a great way to channel my boundless, youthful energy and competitive nature. While in high school, I played doubles in the Ohio Division 1 State Tournament my junior year and ended my senior year 18-0 at first singles being awarded the MVP, Conference Champion, and Cleveland Plain Dealer Player of the Week.
What have you enjoyed most about playing?
The strategic aspects of tennis translate well to business as you are always trying to predict the next shot and read the mindset of your opponent. The social aspects have been rewarding as well as I have made many friends through the sport. In hindsight, my brother-in-law unknowingly helped me develop a foundation for success both personally and professionally while just getting me out of the house to hit balls.
What are the leagues like you currently play in? How competitive are they?
I moved to Richmond, VA two years ago and found a USTA league at a local club. At the same time, I picked the racquet back up after a 25-year hiatus! The play is competitive, and I fare well albeit with more sore muscles and a longer recovery time than I recall.
How good are you? Do you have any goals when you play?
Not good enough! My goal is to always be better than I was the last match. I work to elevate my play by hitting with a ball machine weekly and playing one or two 5:30 am matches each week. I like the early matches as they allow me to get a workout in and make it back home before the kids get up for school and the work day begins.
Outside of your hobbies and work, you served on boards for charities. Can you tell us about the kind of work you do there?
I served on the board for the Center for Enriched Living for many years. This is a fantastic organization, based in Chicago, helping those with developmental disabilities be fully included in the community, achieve personal success, and enjoy a good quality of life.
Additionally, I have helped lead teams and volunteered in numerous capacities for the American Cancer Society. This is very personal to me after having lost my father far too early in his life to prostate cancer.
Giving back is imperative to me and my family. Keeping the bigger picture in mind and being grateful for what we have keeps us balanced when our lives feel hectic and stressful.