By Scott Prater
Senior Master Sgt. Laurie Doughty can sense her softball playing days are numbered, but Schriever’s 2013 Athlete of the Year is not ready to give up on her favorite activity just yet.
This past fall, she competed for the All-Air Force softball team for the 16th year. She spent two weeks at the Air Force trial camp and another week playing 12 games against Army and Navy. The experience proved to be bittersweet, however, as she assumed it would be her last in an Air Force uniform.
“I’m getting older and it’s getting harder to compete at that level,” she said. “Besides the injuries I’ve suffered during the years, the game wears your body down, especially as much as I play.”
Besides competing at the highest Air Force level, Doughty also played and coached a women’s team, a co-ed team and a Schriever intramural team.
Seth Cannello, Schriever sports and fitness manager, said it was an easy decision to name her athlete of the year.
“Our committee at the fitness center chooses the athlete of the year from the four athletes of the quarter,” he said. “Her list of sports accomplishments and her service to sports teams on base, ultimately, were the overriding factors toward her earning the award.”
The 50th Force Support Squadron superintendent has been playing competitive softball since elementary school. Growing up in Florida, she competed at the high school and college levels before enlisting in the Air Force.
The Air Force may take up much of her days, but most nights and weekends are spent on the diamond, weather permitting.
“One of the best aspects of softball is a lot of people play, so it helps create a social link,” she said. “Last year, we had a new wing commander and a new command chief arrive on base. As softball players, we got to meet Col. Bill Liquori and Chief Master Sgt. Lavon Coles during their first weeks here, and they were able to see us as competitors.”
Though playing for the All-Air Force satisfies her ultra-competitive streak, she likes coaching and playing intramurals for the camaraderie.
“I knew she was a talented softball player, but what I didn’t know was how great an athlete she was until I saw her on the volleyball court,” said Master Sgt. Gregory Monck, 50 FSS intramural volleyball coach. “She played back-row defense for us and was simply outstanding. One of the toughest things to do in volleyball is pass well and she was one of our top passers. We made it to the league-tournament semifinals thanks to her performance and we’ll be even better next year with her leading the back row.”
She’s planning to hit the volleyball court again for 50 FSS this spring, but she’s looking forward to summer and fall more this year than perhaps any in the last decade. After considering retirement from competitive softball, she’s decided to tryout again for the All-Air Force team.
“We took second in the Armed Forces tournament last year and I just can’t let my career end that way,” she said. “I’m going back this year. This will be year 17 and I’ve played a role on nine gold-medal teams, but I want another one.”