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Boston sports figures embrace ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’

Defender/midfielder Chris Tierney, Revolution mascot Slyde, and forward Charlie Davies did the ice bucket challenge Wednesday.

Jeff Wroblewski/New England Revolution

Defender/midfielder Chris Tierney, Revolution mascot Slyde, and forward Charlie Davies did the ice bucket challenge Wednesday.

Four Boston College head coaches have dumped buckets full of ice and cold water on their heads this summer.

Five Bruins players have done it in the last week.

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BC legend Doug Flutie and more recent fan favorite Matt Ryan, now with the Atlanta Falcons, have done it in the last two days.

Beloved former Red Sox captain Jason Varitek and his wife, Catherine, doused themselves in their backyard.

Two New England Revolution players, Chris Tierney and Charlie Davies, and the team’s mascot, Slyde, did it Wednesday.

None have done it because of unforgiving summer heat. All have done it to raise awareness for charity.

Pinpointing the origin of the “Ice Bucket Challenge” is like deciphering the original phrase in a jumbled game of Telephone, but the viral video stunt’s growth on the Internet was swift. It has been done by pro golfers Rickie Fowler, Keegan Bradley, Greg Norman, and Michelle Wie. So have NBC’s Matt Lauer and Martha Stewart, and the Boston sports community has embraced it lately.

The concept is simple: either douse or donate. As people accept the challenge and record themselves doing it, they call out others. The goal is to raise awareness, and money, for charity. Those challenged have 24 hours to do the challenge, donate to a charity, or both.

BC women’s basketball coach Erik Johnson got his hands on a GoPro and had his team as his supporting cast when he pulled off the stunt in mid June to help raise money for the Kay Yow Foundation.

In turn, he challenged BC men’s basketball coach Jim Christian, who did it about a week later, also for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

In the last week, however, the BC community has used the Ice Bucket Challenge to rally around two of its own: Peter Frates, who played baseball for the Eagles from 2003-07, and Dick Kelley, the longtime sports information director who died this year.

Kelley was afflicted with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, a nervous system disorder.

Frates, 29, also has ALS, and his family helps run the Pete Frates #3 Fund to raise money for his medical care and to support his “Team Frate Train.”

“I think a good many of our recent former athletes had known Pete when he played here, and I knew many who knew Dick Kelley, who worked in our office for 20 years, and touched so many of them,” said Chris Cameron, BC’s associate athletic director, who did the challenge and uploaded the video Tuesday afternoon.

“Given the fact that we actually had two people in our immediate BC athletics family that were stricken by ALS, it really heightened the awareness of that disease. It has kind of caught fire around here.”

Baseball coach Mike Gambino and hockey coach Jerry York both posted videos in the last few days and turned the challenge back out to others.

Gambino called out former Red Sox infielder Kevin Youkilis and former BC baseball player Tony Sanchez, now with the Pirates, who delivered the same day.

Members of the Bruins were quick to pass around the challenge the last two days, all voicing support for Frates in their videos.

Forward Greg Campbell got it started.

Campbell challenged forward Brad Marchand.

Marchand challenged defenseman Torey Krug.

Krug challenged defenseman Matt Bartkowski and forward Milan Lucic.

Ryan’s challenge went to Falcons teammates Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Harry Douglas.

It doesn’t appear this will lose any steam soon. The Variteks challenged Tim Wakefield and Lindsey Buchholz. And Patriots receiver Julian Edelman has completed his challenge and called out teammates Danny Amendola, Rob Gronkowski, and Tom Brady.

Davies and Tierney, who were challenged by BC friends, called for Revolution coach Jay Heaps to do it as well as the team’s supporter groups, Midnight Riders and the Rebellion.

BC football coach Steve Addazio has also been challenged.

“I would say BC athletics — coaches, student-athletes, staff — operate as a family while our students are on campus, and then they become our extended family once they graduate and go on to do other things,” Cameron said. “They are loyal followers of our program.”

Addazio first ice bath as an Eagle could come sooner than he expected.

“That’s being discussed, so stay tuned,” Cameron said.

Follow Rachel G. Bowers on Twitter @rachelgbowers.
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