A short red headed eight year old fields ground balls until there isn't enough light to field anymore. His deep almost adult voice challenges the hitter to smack some more fungos long past the time to quit.
On the way home, the little fire haired kid critiques his own performance, vowing to erase any and all mistakes he made that day.
Tim Dougherty never showed emotion. He analyzed everything. His talent never matched his desire but that would never stop him, only time would dictate that he move on.
There was the time in an eighth grade basketball game at Colerain Junior High School that Tim called an unauthorized time out. Tim was bringing the ball up the court for the Cardinals against arch-rivals the White Oak Junior High School Warriors. David Quebe stole the ball from Tim in two successive trips up the court for easy baskets. Dougherty made the T with his hands and called time out. As the crowd noise dimmed, everyone in the house that day could hear his coach scream, "What are you doing, Dougherty? I like to save my timeouts for the end of the game." Dougherty, never one to flinch or rattle, calmly replied, "We had to stop their momentum."
To be sure he had seen basketball coaches do this on TV and he was going to apply it.
The summer of 1969, the sophomore class at Colerain high was ready to start two-a-day practice for football. There were a couple guys missing, Ray Penno, Dan Merkt and Dougherty were busy winning the Ohio State Babe Ruth championship for Pioneer Vending. Coach Paul Geisen asked where Dougherty was. He knew Penno and Merkt would be late but didn't know that Dougherty was also on that team. He hadn't told Geisen he would be missing because he intended to concentrate on basketball.
"He doesn't have the build for basketball," Geisen said of the 5'6" muscular Dougherty. "He's built too close to the ground."
Dougherty earned a spot on the basketball team anyway. His career didn't last long. He played one or two years when more talented players were selected to represent the Cardinals on the court. Still he would sit in the stands at every game and could explain what was going on on the court below.
I next saw Tim twenty years later. I was the Public Address announcer for a baseball game at Xavier University. Dougherty approached me between games of the doubleheader. He had been the home plate umpire. "You always imitated Dom Valentino," remembered Dougherty of the Cincinnati Royals radio broadcaster who had a distinct easy to imitate radio voice. "I thought that was you back here," Dougherty said as he explained that he followed his desire to participate in athletics by acting as an arbitor for baseball, basketball and football at all levels of competition.
I would see Tim several times a year at one sporing event or another. Always calm under pressure and letting the reproach of coaches and fans roll off his back without reaction. When he made a call it was fact, a final decision with no appeal.
Tim drew the Colerain football game at Milford in 2004 when the Cardinals had one of its best teams ever. Both sides knew that the game will be called right down the middle. It was until Colerain built a 70-0 lead after three quarters.
Colerain coach Kerry Coombs called Dougherty over to the sidelines. "We don't need to score anymore," Coombs told Dougherty. The last two of 14 different Colerain ball carriers broke free on runs for touchdowns but Dougherty spied holding somewhere on the field on them to prevent the scoreboard for registering 84 points.
Dougherty suffered a stroke last week. On Friday he was having trouble breathing. Around 10:15 on Saturday morning Dougherty passed away. In his final call he requested that there would be no public service.
It was his style to compete until you can struggle no more, and to compete when he knew no one was watching. He made the final call.
Rest well my friend.