For nearly 37 years, Guy Adam has been a fixture working behind the scenes at Forest View Racquet & Fitness Club in Arlington Heights. As the loyal custodian, he would arrive as early as 3 a.m. to clean the courts and locker rooms, make sure all of the equipment was in working order — think lights, fitness equipment and maintaining all of the indoor and outdoor courts — and all before any members arrived, beginning at 6 am.
That all changed last week, when Guy retired.
“I love this place,” he said somewhat emotionally. “I love all the members, I just loved being here.”
The feeling was mutual. He took photos with many of the longtime members, from permanent court time players, to travel team members and former staff, before hearing some their testimonials at his retirement party.
“He’s one of a kind, irreplaceable,” said Nany Alfonso, general manager. “He was a dedicated, loyal employee, but he was more than that. He was the one who made this the third place, he made it feel like home.”
Guy is a native of Thailand, who came to this country as a child. In the beginning of his career with the Arlington Heights Park District, he pinch hit in the nursery when he wasn’t taking care of the facility. In later years, he added stringing racquets to his talents, and applying new grips.
“I like it because it’s been flexible,” Guy added. “When my work was done, and if someone needed another player, I was able to jump in and play.”
Members and staff turned out for his retirement party last week, and the feeling was bittersweet.
“For as long as I can remember, he was always here,” said Nancy Lynk of Arlington Heights.
Another player, Pat Wolf of Mount Prospect, described how Guy would go out of his way to help members, particularly those on the travel teams, who competed and hosted their opponents to lunch every week.
“He was our champion, our biggest fan,” Wolf said. “He would watch from the upstairs window and then have our lunch set up when we finished. We’re going to miss him so much.”
In retirement, Guy said he is keeping his options open. In the coming weeks, he plans to return to his native Thailand for a visit, before deciding where his next adventure will take him.