Carving out a name for himself
For at least part of the 2004 season, one of his football coaches took to calling him “Sunshine” after a character in the movie “Remember the Titans.”
The nickname – though appropriate in a resemblance to Ronnie “Sunshine” Harris, the long golden-locked surfing quarterback from the film – seems to fit also in describing the personality of Doug Potter.
The guy’s sense of humor can keep his teammates in stitches and can easily lift the mood in a scene he surmises as being just a bit too serious.
During an preseason football practice last fall, Potter sat not-so quietly aside NU twin running backs Rich and Ryan Herrera, who were being interviewed for a season preview story.
Potter playfully gave his two senior teammates a tough time about being the “famous Herreras,” joked that the twins didn’t work hard enough in practice and declared that he, in fact, was much better looking than either one of the Herreras and would be a much more photogenic player for The Union to feature.
But just before you believe he’s actually that arrogant, a bright smile spreads across his face and his teammates give him a good-natured shove before declaring that to be just Doug, being Doug.
Yet, put the football in his hands or strap a snowboard to his feet, and the transformation from Chris Rock funny to Samuel Jackson serious takes just a snap.
“I love to compete,” said Potter, who is currently doing just that at the California Nevada Interscholastic Ski and Snowboard state championships at Mammoth Mountain this week. “You know, I’ve always loved to ride. I got my first snowboard when I was five or six years old. But something else I always loved to do was to compete.
“Having those two things combined is maybe why I choose it as being my favorite sport.”
There’s that – and the fact that he’s “not too bad” at it doesn’t hurt either.
His thirst to compete, he said, probably grew from the natural sibling rivalry he shared with his brother Chris, an NU senior who lined up next to Doug as a fellow running back last fall and most recently has been chasing him down the slopes on the NU snowboard team. Chris also posted several top 10 finishes in the Central D-II slalom and giant slalom races this season.
“It’s been fun. I’ve enjoyed playing sports with by brother,” Doug said. “Football is his thing, his dominant sport, because he’s really good at it. Snowboarding is my dominant sport. It’s cool that we can compete together in the same sport, at the same level, like we have.”
The level of competition Doug has yet to face this week will go up a notch in a hurry. Following Tuesday’s final round of competition, he jumped in the car and headed for Reno, where at 8 a.m. this morning he met up with other boarders with their bearings set for Jackson Hole, Wyo. Potter will compete in the boarder cross event of the Chevrolet Evolution Tour this weekend.
In boarder cross events, like moto-cross, a number of racers are all on the course at the same time, meaning they’re not competing against the clock but against the guys throwing elbows at each other at high speeds through tight turns.
“Boarder cross can be a lot more competitive,” Potter said. “You have to be aggressive. It’s an aggressive sport. I’m an aggressive guy.
“It’s all about the mindset. You have to know the course. You have to have studied it. And the rest, is 75 to 80 percent mental. You’ve just got to be prepared and be aggressive.”
Heading into the state championships he said he was confident, yet cautious about how things would turn out. Potter placed 18th two years ago as a freshman at the event, which includes the top 125 high school snowboarders in the state. Last season, he lifted that finish up to fourth.
This year, he said, he wants his name – and Nevada Union’s -higher on the list of results.
“I’m kind of getting nervous,” Potter said two days before the state meet. “I don’t usually get nervous over sports. But this is my last year with my brother out here and we kind of want to take first together (as a team). The last time we won it was in 2000.
“If I can get four good, standing runs in, I might be able to pull it off and win the thing.”
As far as the competition in Jackson Hole, Potter says he’s pumped about getting a chance to see how he measures up with some of the best amateurs out there, a status he would very much like shed in becoming a professional one day Ð of course, that will come after his Winter Olympics berth.
“I’d love to do that. I used to tell my Mom that I was going to go to the Olympics in snowboarding,” he said. “I always look forward to (this weekend’s) level of competition, just to see what that competition is like.
“Going to big events like this, let’s me know how I’m doing.”
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