Mutter soccer game a success
Soccer match turns into mosh pit
EDWARDS — The “firsts” stink.
When a loved one passes away, the first birthday, the first Christmas and so on weigh heavy.
Vail Christian, Battle Mountain, and Vail Mountain soccer tried to create a fun first for the Mutter family by playing an exhibition soccer game on Saturday evening in Edwards in honor of their older daughter, Lauren Mutter, 31, who died unexpectedly in March. The proceeds of the gate, as well as the postgame festivities at Ein Prosit in Avon, went to a Vail Valley Soccer Club scholarship for deserving future girls soccer players.
From the public-address announcer mispronouncing Vail Christian Robin Pavelich’s name — older sis, Gretchen, was on the mic — to the mixing of teams, it was a fun evening to remember Mutter and start what is hopefully a fun tradition.
“It’s nice to be able to watch from the press box,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “First Battle Mountain game I’ve watched since the suspension game back at the old Battle Mountain field.”
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Actually, Coach, there was no press box back then, but that’s not important right now.
Some of Saturday was about remembering Mutter. VMS coach Bob Bandoni recalled Mutter arriving at practice in East Vail with a smile on her face every day. (Vail Christian did not have a soccer team at the time, so Mutter played for Vail Mountain.)
Working in the Dalai Lama, John Irving’s “A Prayer for Owen Meany,” and current state of politics, but, surprisingly not the Boston Red Sox, Bandoni remembered Mutter.
“Joy. It’s not the same as happiness,” said VMS coach Bob Bandoni, who coached “It has much deeper roots. It is grounded in this idea of compassion, seeing through the eyes of others and Lauren had this from a very young age. I’m pretty much trying not to cry here.”
There were some tears, and that’s OK. It’s part of the process. There were some laughs as well.
“If you have not heard Lauren’s laugh, you have to go on Instagram because it was truly a gift from God,” said Saints coach Barbara Wilson.
During halftime, the Vail Valley Soccer Club’s Kerri Thelen presented Terry and Mike Mutter a plaque symbolic of the club’s commitment to honoring their daughter.
Mix and match
And the teams spent the rest of the evening doing what Lauren loved, play soccer. With everyone wearing “MUTTER” t-shirts, it was a fun time. Officially, this is what CHSAA calls a foundation game, a 16th contest on the schedule that does not impact the rating-percentage index.
It was a good run for all involved. The Huskies took care of things with three goals against the Saints during the first half. The second half was more fun as the Huskies, Saints and Gore Rangers mixed up sides. Huskies striker Audrey Teague ended up in the net. And teammate Gabby Caballero scored on her.
Meanwhile, usual Battle Mountain goalie Wilder Isom was playing striker.
“Wilder can have it,” Teague joked. “I won’t miss it at all.”
And during the second half, the concept of 11-on-11 was somewhat amorphous. It was more like a 20-on-20 game.
Reef Kenney, 12, ended the game with a penalty shot. She sent it by Teague and the game ended with everyone carrying her off the field.
Despite her rough outing in goal, Teague said she had a fun time.
“I think it was an amazing idea to get all these girls out here from of all of our local schools and really remember Lauren for what he liked, which was camaraderie, teamwork, and soccer,” she said. “You saw that in the joy in the game. I really hope it lives on.”
Vail Christian’s Caitlin Bishop agreed.
“So much fun. I loved it,” she said. “We’ve definitely been thinking of Lauren all the time and playing for her. The wins we’ve had are for her.”