My History with Paddle
My relationship with Paddle began in Worcester, Massachusetts in the 1970s. Worcester is smack in the middle of the snow-belt where the weather is frigid and the winters are dark and long.
My parents were athletic and embraced the sport enthusiastically as a way to endure the long winters. I did not play at that time, but I supported the effort because I was the babysitter to my three younger sisters. “Off to play paddle,” my parents would announce. “Make sure the kids do their homework.”
I continued to support the Paddle effort as my youngest sister took up the sport while living with my parents in Glen Falls, NY. Charlotte was nationally ranked and I watched match after match as her biggest fan.
I didn’t play paddle until I was married with kids. We joined a country club in Philadelphia where there were paddle facilities and beginners' teams. I practice, play on the Interclub team and help organize socials. Like my parents, I play enthusiastically while my daughter does the babysitting. I echo my parents as I head out the door shouting, “Make sure you kids do your homework!”
My extended family embraces paddle whole-heartedly. Our Thanksgiving tradition is that all 30+ family members convene at my parent’s home in Glens Falls, NY. We play paddle all weekend long. Paddle is as much our tradition as is turkey!
My children have played since adolescence; my husband plays in men's leagues and I am going on my tenth year of playing, chairing committees and organizing tournaments.
I may not be nationally ranked, but I have a reputation for a mean drive and a deep lob.
My hope is that I can mirror my parents who continue to play in their 80s.
Sue Dougherty lives in Mt. Airy, Philadelphia with her husband and two children. She is synonymous with paddle at her club, Philadelphia Cricket Club.