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Susan Stephen Paddleball Profile By David Siegel

Meet Susan Stephen, the winner of the last two major women’s paddleball events. In September, she, along with her partner, Kathy Guinan, won the 2017 Las Vegas Paddleball Tournament and this past Oct. 7, again with Kathy, she emerged victorious in the Columbus Day Weekend “On the Beach” Big Ball Paddleball Tournament, held in Hollywood, Florida.

Susan may be new to recent championships, but she is not new on the paddleball scene. She has been playing continuously for over 40 years, ever since coming to the United States from England, where she spent the first 11 years of her life. In the early days, she played both handball and small ball paddleball at Brooklyn’s Wingate Park and Lefferts High School. She started playing in paddleball tournaments in 1979, including several Budweisers, and back then was considered one of the top woman players. Eventually Susan turned to big ball paddleball and now calls the 40th St. Padegat courts her home park, where she has again emerged as one of the best woman players in the game. Back in the day, she played forever, but now Susan plays 2 to 3 times a week in the summer and less in the winter.

On the court, she a fierce, never-say-die competitor, and very steady. Her strategy is basic: get in front of her opponent, hit the ball to the opposite side and drop the ball in front of her when she has the opportunity. Her role model for her positioning skills is Anita Maldonado.

Susan has great love and respect for the game. Her sports hero was the late Steve Smith, who she says was “respectful, had great talent, and was, at the same time, mild mannered.” She too is subdued off the court, a trait she believes is not well known to her competitors. She sincerely hopes the sport can grow and greatly admires the accomplishments of our Mike Melendez, with the innovative mentorship program and the Pow-Pows that bring the paddleball community together. Susan feels improving overall player conduct is also essential for continued growth.

What about the non-paddleball life of Susan Stephen? In her younger days, she played basketball, which was her first love, until her bothersome knees made it difficult. But she claims she can still beat anyone in a shootout! She loves to cook, having learned from her grandmother, and her favorite dish is salmon and vegetables. And how about this: During the trip to Las Vegas for the tournament, she also got married! Immediately after winning the tournament, she hustled to get ready for her 8:00 PM wedding with Carl. For those of you wondering if this is a new paddleball mixed doubles team? No, sadly, Carl is a basketball player, and doesn’t play paddleball. Nevertheless, the best of health and happiness to Susan and Carl!