Stephanie Justice is currently pursuing her Associate of Arts in Radiology Technology at Weatherford College, but as a teenager in the ’80s she was spending much of her time building up her credit as a foosball champion.
Playing foosball started out as a way to pass time in her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi. When she moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, she began competition in beginner’s tournaments and quickly moved up the ranks.
“I caught the fever and started playing six nights a week,” Justice said. “I went to any tournament that was six hours or less driving time so I could make it back in time for work on Monday mornings.”
She participated in city, state, national and even world championships which resulted in a tour circuit that kept her busy February through November of each year.
Most tournaments paid cash or awarded jackets, trophies, jewelry, and sometimes a foosball table to the top players. On the international foosball website (ifptour.com) Justice is listed under her maiden name “Dean” with the ranking of “master,” the highest of the seven rankings based on player experience and points earned during competition.
Justice said she has more than 20 titles ranking third place or better, but she’s lost count of the number of competitions she’s entered over the course of her 18-year competitive foosball career. Her best finishes are three World Championship titles in Open Mixed Doubles.
Justice played other sports growing up, but not competitively, and said she chose foosball as a competitive sport because it challenged her both mentally and physically.
“I wanted to prove to myself that I could be disciplined enough to win first place in different categories of events,” she said.
Justice still plays foosball on occasion at local tournaments and encourages others to learn the skill too.
“Foosball is a family-friendly sport where there are events for beginners and amateurs, and over the years I have seen three generations involved in the sport,” she said. “It’s a spectator sport if you play or learn to follow the game.”
Much of Justice’s time now involves classwork at WC. For the past several years, she has taken one or two classes at a time at both the Weatherford and Wise County campuses to complete basic requirement for the radiology program.
“I enjoy learning new things,” she said. “And I feel like an education will lead to a career that will give me financial security.”
Her interest in the medical field stems back to her childhood and being raised by a single mom who was employed as a reserve police officer and as an RN flight nurse for one of the first emergency flight services for University Hospital in Mississippi. When she wasn’t working she ran marathons in New York City and earned her second degree black belt in Shotokan Karate.
“My mom is awesome,” Justice said. “She was a travel nurse for many years and landed in her dream city, New York City. She took a permanent position with Colombian Presbyterian Hospital and still lives there.
“She is my hero because she has followed her dreams. She does what makes her happy and when she decides to set a goal she achieves it. I am proud of her. When I set my goals, I can see she how I have learned from her example.”
After completing her degree at WC, Justice intends to specialize in various area of radiology and, perhaps, continue her education.
“My goal, for now, is to complete my degree in Radiology Technology,” she said. “But I dream big.”