By Sue Moore
“I learned early the importance of getting the most out of my experiences through hard work and that you don’t quit but persevere in anything you do,” said Steve Dougherty. Some 25 years out of high school, he has learned that good citizenship, discipline and goal setting he learned from participating in sports at Vicksburg.
“My introduction to sports began with wrestling when I was 6 years old. During that first year, I qualified for the State tournament and was immediately hooked. I then wrestled for the next 12 years. My baseball career started with T-ball. I was fortunate to play nearly every position before ending my career as a pitcher at Kalamazoo College,” Dougherty said as he talked about his career.
“Football, however, was my true passion. I started playing rocket football and always admired the older players that played on Friday nights. I always looked forward to the fall and it was a thrill to play under the lights once in High School and an honor to play at Kalamazoo College on Saturday afternoons. Although a knee injury ended my football career early, my passion for the game never waned. Regardless of the score or the record at the end of the season, nothing beats the thrill of the competition,” he said. Dougherty was elected captain by his teammates in football, wrestling, and baseball.
“I have also been fortunate to enjoy sports on the other side of the ball. My coaching career started in college after graduation for a few years with baseball and football. When my daughter Lauren began playing travel soccer, I learned a “new” sport and coached her for the next 8 years. I have also coached baseball for teams in which both of my sons Tony and Drew, played for the past 10 years. I have cherished the time my children and I have spent together on the field and in the car traveling to and from practices and games,” he said.
“From T-ball, all-stars, AYSO, little league, travel baseball and soccer, it is a privilege to have been on the field as well as in the stands watching my kids perform and simply being there to witness their development,” Dougherty said.
He continues to stay active by running and cycling. Although he said it takes a little longer to get in shape and recover from races and events. “I’m proud to say the determination and hard work I learned in my youth have allowed me to compete in events from a 5k to a marathon and triathlons from sprint to half iron-man distances. I have biked events that take place over several days and cover hundreds of miles. Adventure racing is my latest endeavor.
“As my father’s apprentice for 11 years, I learned the sheet metal trade working alongside him. I continue to fabricate traditional projects today as well as creating my own artwork from metal. I find the most satisfaction working with a customer to complete a unique project that meets their needs.
“I cannot deny that the thrill of standing atop the podium or hearing my name announced to the crowd were motivating to me, but as I look back upon a lifetime of playing sports, the challenge of competition and perfecting my efforts, fueled my desire to play. There is a deep satisfaction in knowing that you have given your best and that you have ‘left it all on the field’. I learned this from coaches, teachers, parents, family, teammates, other athletes, and from this community that supports its student athletes. I will always be grateful for the lessons I have learned and character that was instilled in me,” Dougherty said.