Atholton field hockey team takes on the icy challenge [Bits and Pieces]

I may not be up to speed on the latest gadgets and fads. So I had to rely on Atholton's varsity field hockey coach, Martie Dyer, to help me with this latest craze, the Ice Bucket Challenge. Last Thursday, the Atholton field hockey team took up the challenge to raise funds for ALS research and awareness. While I heartily congratulate Martie and her team for bringing awareness to this dreaded disease, I had no idea what an Ice Bucket Challenge was. Oh, I read about it, but I still had no idea what was going on.

Martie explained it this way: the original idea was born when former Boston College baseball team captain Pete Frates was diagnosed with ALS. He dared a few friends to take the challenge, which meant dumping a bucket of ice water over their heads or donating $100 to ALS. The friends then did the same to other friends. The challenge spread across the country like wildfire.

Martie then explained how the Atholton team got involved.

"We as coaches watched many around the country joining in this campaign. While many chose to take their challenge without donating, we wanted to do both. Every year we ask (the players) to contribute to the community in some way. This year, we thought the Ice Bucket Challenge would be a way to raise money and awareness for a wonderful cause," Dyer said.

The team raised $600.

There is a second half of the story which should be told. Greg Birmingham has been the voice of field hockey at Mt. Hebron High School since at least 2002. He was diagnosed with ALS five years ago. With the help of his son, Michael, Greg announced the first field hockey game at Mt. Hebron and it gave Martie and her girls the inspiration to dump and donate.

Congratulations to Martie and the Atholton varsity field hockey team for taking on this challenge. ALS can strike anyone at any time and it was the right thing for Martie, JV coach Rachel Parkinson and the girls of both squads to get into this fight early. That is what community service is all about.

Lincoln's soccer life

Lincoln Phillips just might be one of the most engaging personalities I have met in the world of sports over the past 40 years. The Trinidad-born Phillips has spent the majority of his 73 years in soccer. He has played the game, coached two NCAA national champions while at Howard University, has been involved in youth soccer here for as long as I can remember, has been interviewed by the New York Times and has authored two wonderful books on goalkeeping.

His first book is considered a bible on goalkeeping. The book, titled "Soccer Goalkeeping: The Last Line of Defense, The First Line of Attack" was released in 1996. His second book was officially released at his alma mater, Howard University, in May and will have a second release here in Columbia on Sept. 5 at the Hawthorn Center.

The newest book is an autobiography entitled "Rising Above and Beyond the Crossbar: The Life Story of Lincoln 'Tiger' Phillips."

It deals with civil rights during the time when a predominantly black and Caribbean soccer team had to overcome injustice to go on to win the NCAA national championship.

One championship in 1971 was vacated due to dubious player eligibility violations. Phillips was the first coach to win an NCAA championship with a historically black college.

In brief, Lincoln came to this country to play for the original Bays of the North American Soccer League. In 1968, he joined the Washington Darts pro team as head coach and goalkeeper. From 1970 to 1980 he coached the Howard University team and has won several Soccer Association of Columbia awards including the Boussy Award for outstanding contributions to the sport of soccer.

Lincoln Phillips lives in Columbia with his wife Linda, and his four sons have all played soccer.

I recommend that you take in his book release and signing on Sept. 5 and engage him in conversation.

You will be the better for doing both.

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