There is a difference between fast and quick … at least in my mind there is. As a soccer coach, I used to explain to my players that a keeper had to be both. If he got caught outside of the box and the opposing team sent a long ball … he had to be fast enough to get back in the goal ahead of any attempted shot and then once there, quick enough to move feet, hands, body in the direction that the shot was going. A defensive back needed to be fast and quick — fast enough to run down the striker and quick enough with the foot work to pick the ball away before the shot could be made. Fast and quick – soccer, basketball, baseball – yes – but in cross country track?
It was a meet against Warwick High School on their course in Mariners’ Museum. I think it was one of the first meets of the season and we had a bunch of new, unproven, younger runners. The Warwick team had taken position to warm up by the end of the row of crepe myrtles lining the dirt road. We were warming up, stretching out closer to the gate coming off Warwick Boulevard.
We were in our usual pre-meet mode – Billy had the nervous whizzies, Al was in a cold sweet, I was making sure my hair was in place and my shirt was tucked in ( not one of Julie’s better runners)… and the new guy … Timberlake was dashing around like a half-back zig-zagging thru a defensive line of crepe myrtles.
“Billy, is that guy really any good — is he all that fast?” I asked as we rubbed Kramer’s Atomic Balm on our legs.
“Don’t know – but he’s quick- he looks like a beagle chasing rabbits” mumbled Billy. I think Billy had a James Dean complex and tried to be unheard.
About that time a rabbit actually ran into the area where we were warming up.
“Hey Timberlake, you all that fast – catch that rabbit.” I yelled.
With that, Ronnie (Timberlake) took out after the little creature, zig-zagging back and forth thru the trees, across the open field and down the dirt road. They were hauling … we were laughing and Coach Conn was beginning to go into a slow rotation, pivoting on one foot with unlit cigar clamped between his teeth and his fist balled. And then it happened – Ronnie reached down, grabbed the rabbit by it’s hind feet and flipped it.
“He’s quick,” mumbled Billy — “He’s a damn Doonie-Bird,” yelled Julie.
There it was — “Doonie”. Just like in Cool Hand Luke — Timberlake had earned his name – Doonie.
Not only did Ronnie earn his name that day, becoming a member of what Coach Conn periodically referred to as his “4 D’s” (Dorner, Douthat, Dossey and now Doonie), not only did he prove that he WAS quick … he also proved to everyone that he was fast – very fast coming in second on the heels of Warwick’s Tommy Morris – the #1 distant runner in the state.
Now if I can only remember how I came about earning my name. What was it Coach called me … “Dossey, you slow-ass-short-legged-good-for-nothing-son-of-a…” OH YEAH, now I remember.
From Jim Dossett (’66) of FL