RANCHO SANTA FE — Craig McAllister will take a place at the Association board table this year. Involved in the Rancho Santa Fe Community, he was on the board of the tennis club for the past 10 years and president between 2010 and 2011.
“I am a hack,” he said of his tennis game. “I do a lot of junk, drop shots and lobs. I don’t have power. I broke my wrist playing ice hockey in college. I took a guy to the boards and (his wrist) got between me and the guy. It bent back so far it severely fractured my wrist.”
Still, he said, he plays well enough to compete on the men’s team and he’s had several victories to savor.
He said he is semi-retired and has time to play tennis, especially at the noon open play period.
“I became a fixture over there at noon,” he said.
And he is proud of club.
:At the tennis club we have kids that rank in the top 20 nationally,” he said.
He was born and raised in Connecticut. He and Suzanne, his wife of 28 years, spent the bulk of their lives in New England. They have lived in Rancho Santa Fe for the past 15 years.
He went to Hobart College and continued to live in upstate New York where the winters are “pretty brutal.”
“One day my wife said, ‘I can’t live like this anymore. I just can’t take it anymore,’” he said.
He had lived there all his life and didn’t know what she was talking about until the next three winters that were particularly harsh, including one where they were without water or power for days. The event that changed his mind was trying to unfreeze 100 yards of pipe in the bone-numbing cold.
“I’ve had it. Let’s go looking,” he told Suzanne. “We wanted to be near the water. We looked up and down the East Coast. We started in Florida and worked our way up,” he said.
They were looking for mild weather and good education for daughters Lulu and Bailey, now 26 and 24.
“We found the west coast of Florida too buggy and the schools just weren’t there. We avoided the thought of living on the West Coast,” he said.
They loved San Francisco, but the weather was too chilly and it was in California.
“We were afraid of mudslides, earthquakes, fires,” he said.
They did not want to look in the Midwest, or Chicago or Texas. They thought about Tucson and Phoenix.
“I had been in San Diego once when I was in college. I had never thought about it again. I thought there was a possibility there. I put her (Suzanne) on a plane as the initial scout,” he said.
She scouted the area until she found Rancho Santa Fe, made a phone call to him and told him she had found the place where they would live.
“It looked like the place we wanted to be,” he said.
What made them decide to live in the Covenant was the number of clubs, groups and organizations, but when they heard about the wonderful school there, they decided they would not have to send their children to outside private schools.
Suzanne has found he niche as well. She is a volunteer docent at the San Elijo Lagoon and is secretary of the San Diego Bee Keeping Society. She won third place in the San Diego County Fair honey contest last year.
Easing into a Association board member position should be fairly easy for McAllister.
“I had the opportunity to interact with the Association on various things and I got to understand how the board works pretty much,” he said.
As president of the tennis club, he played a large role in getting the club from the red into the black recently.
He said his work on the board of the tennis club is pretty much done.
“The club is in pretty good shape and it is time to move on to something else,” he said.
He is now involved in arranging the celebration for the 50th anniversary of the tennis club along with Lisa Ruh and Cindy Leonard, who are co-chairs of the event.
Being asked to be on the Association board was a nice compliment and he
said he will be happy to work on the new marketing committee.
“I have a background in marketing,” he said.
He said he likes the idea of updating the Covenant’s website and putting the word out that Rancho Santa Fe is a great place to live. He wants to be sure to market not only to the older demographic, but for younger families as well. He said it is similar to current movies that are geared for children, but also appeal to the parent on another level.
He said living in Rancho Santa Fe has been wonderful.
“It’s been like the American Dream come true,” he said. “It has the best weather in the world. This town is such a little gem.”