By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/17/10
BALTIMORE – Brian Dougherty, known around the lacrosse world as a free spirit, said he normally takes things as they come, maybe never thinking much more than a few days ahead.
But just mention the event coming on July 14-24, 2010, in Manchester, England, and he says a tingle comes over him.
“The way I feel about things is by the day and by the week,” said Dougherty. “But this is the first time I’m thinking six months ahead. Just saying that right now is giving me chills.”
Dougherty, or “Doc” as everyone calls him, was peaking about the Federation of International Lacrosse World Championships. The pick as the team’s starting goalie, Doc is an Episcopal Academy graduate, Penn assistant coach and former member of the two-time National Lacrosse League champion Philadelphia Barrage.
At the tender age of 36, Doc is still recognized as one of the premier lacrosse goalies in the world. He will face the biggest stage in England when the United States attempts to regain the gold medal it thinks it never should have relinquished to Canada four years ago when it dropped a 15-10 decision in the finals after winning six straight times.
On Friday Doc spoke about the team’s chances and his personal feelings at the annual US Lacrosse National Convention where the National team gathered to sign autographs and greet many of the 5,000 coaches, referees, players and enthusiasts in attendance. Doc is one of four Philly player son the squad, which also features Kyle Sweeney (Springfield-Delco graduate), D.J. Driscoll (Malvern Prep) and Kevin Cassese (Lehigh coach).
“I still feel real confident about my abilities out there,” said Dougherty, who starred at the University of Maryland and now plays for the Long Island Lizards. “Now I actually see more shots and I am creating a database in my brain of things in my experience. I have seen everything there is to see. I feel I’m still getting better.
“It’s playing for your country,” he added. “Whether it’s badminton, horseshoes or darts; it’s lacrosse and I’ve been doing it all my life. (Representing your country) is the greatest honor you can have and then you throw the fact in that we’re underdogs and we lost – it gives you even more chills. I want to be the guy that brings it back to my country and goes out on that. For my career it’s something that’s a big deal for me.”
Doc said the roster members, who were just announced several months ago, have a special camaraderie. Many have played together on teams in college and the pros and each has a common goal.
“This is the first time we’ve really gotten together since the list was out,” he said. “The guys are very proud and we know our responsibilities. This is something our country has dominated for however many years and for whatever reason it (losing) happened. And it’s time we need to fix that.”
On Saturday the team spent several hour signing autographs on team pictures. The lines to greet them were long and the players got to share their thoughts with each other and their fans.
“It’s a lifelong dream,” said Driscoll, who played at Notre Dame and now plays for the Chicago Machine. “Just hearing the banter here … signings the autographs. I grew up with these guys (“I also grew up watching Doc”). It is awesome.
“I have played against them and played with them. But it’s fun to be on this team, playing with them. You can definitely sense the urgency and the seriousness of it all. It’s a business trip to bring back the gold. We know what we need to do and what we need to do to get it.”