Soccer mom keeps youth league running smoothly


PHIL DEVITO never runs out of energy. The Savage resident is coordinating the local Guilford-Bollman Bridge Girl Scout cluster -- and she is soccer commissioner for the Savage Boys and Girls Club.

"I coordinate the soccer leagues and all of the soccer," says the longtime soccer mom. "I have league directors under me. They make up the teams and do scheduling. I'm actually a paper person."

DeVito finds the playing sites for the expanding club's teams, takes care of registration and answers phones all day.

Getting a venue can be challenging -- the teams play at Bollman Bridge and Forest Ridge elementary schools, on the fields behind Patuxent Valley Middle School and at Savage Park.

School fields are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. DeVito sometimes competes with the Soccer Association of Columbia for space.

She faces other challenges, too. "Lime is a ridiculous expense," DeVito reports.

And the soccer field's boundaries have to be marked before each game with the white powdery stuff. "Each field takes five to 10 bags of lime and at this time of the year, the stores run out," DeVito says. "No one thinks of gardening now." Gardeners use lime to sweeten the soil or neutralize its acidity.

Bill Nunley, husband of soccer director Lisa Nunley, found a good, cheap source of lime and bought lots of it.

The purchase saved DeVito and other volunteers an additional trip to the garden center before each game, as well as the task of hauling 200 to 400 pounds of lime to the field.

"It's fun, but it is a lot of work," DeVito says of her job as soccer commissioner. "You can see the children having a good time and learning life skills, like team play and trying again. That's the bottom line."

DeVito doesn't play soccer, although she is considering becoming an assistant coach next year. She has had to turn kids away because the league didn't have enough coaches to field more teams.

Basketball, baseball and softball coaches -- as well as soccer coaches -- are needed. The only qualifications required are a knowledge of the game and a willingness to have fun with kids. Information or to join the club: 301-604-8308.

Basketball, baseball, softball and soccer teams for kindergartners to middle-schoolers are available.

Rug-hooking exhibition

The Mason Dixon Chapter of the Association of Traditional Hookcrafting Artists is holding an exhibition this weekend at Montpelier Mansion in Laurel.

The chapter -- which draws members from Maryland, Delaware, Northern Virginia and Pennsylvania -- held its exhibitions at Savage Mill every two years. But this time, the mill had no available space.

Group member Roslyn Logson of Laurel is a resident artist at Montpelier Cultural Arts Center. She suggested that the group try petitioning the Colonial-era mansion for permission to display its 150-item exhibit there. Permission was granted and the chapter was thrilled.

"It was the best of all the sites," said Mary Thomson, who was recently named president of the group. "The architecture is so in tune with the craft." Rug-hooking dates to Colonial times.

Thomson explains that hooked rugs were made of canvas and scraps of wool.

"These were originally a way to recycle -- take worn-out clothing and make it into rugs," she said.

The woolen fabric is cut into thin strips and pulled through the canvas with a hook, thus creating a small loop. Thousands of these loops pulled through the backing fabric created a thick durable pile that kept feet warm on cold floors at little cost.

The association's exhibit contains some traditional rugs -- often variations on the biblical theme of the "Peaceable Kingdom," in which a lion lies down in harmony with a lamb -- as well as modern geometric styles.

While hooked rugs originally were made as floor rugs or "bed rugs," now artisans make wall hangings, seat covers, pillows and table mats, too.

The exhibit is on display on the ground floor of Montpelier Mansion, with most of the works in the two large side wings, the great central hall and in one of the hyphens. A hyphen is a short hallway that connects the wings to the main house in Georgian-style buildings.

Thomson is pleased that some pieces are on display in the first-floor bedroom -- which is filled with Colonial and early American antiques.

The exhibit runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today through Monday. The artisans will demonstrate their techniques all weekend.

The group has made some inexpensive hook-rug kits that include everything necessary to make a pillow and introduce this heirloom craft to novices.

The exhibit is free.

Information: 301-953-1376.

For those of a scholarly bent, the mansion will offer a free lecture on the role of taverns in Colonial America at 7: 30 p.m. Wednesday.

Refreshments will be served.

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