Preserving the Legacy of Matt Slautterback '89
Matthew Munro Slautterback '89 will forever be recalled as an exemplary member of our tribe. As a student, artist, friend, and athlete, he embodied our Latin motto—Suaviter in modo, fortiter in re ("Gentle in manner, resolute in action")—which emphasizes perseverance and humility.
Coach Jeff Young recalls:
Wherever Matt roamed, his sincerity, compassion, and respect for others was unfailing and an inspiration to us all. His peers and teachers felt such a genuine connection with him. He was one of our very best.
For many years, a plaque honoring Matt has served to remind us of his life and values, and his commitment to Stevenson lacrosse as a superb goalie. It includes an excerpt from a list he wrote out in his sophomore year at Middlebury College describing the ten essential points of being a goalie:
10. Whatever happens—Wing it—go with it & save the ball. Remember to be loose but amped and that there are certain things you can do to be better but that things will happen in games and in practice that are beyond your control. Don't think twice about them. Go with it.
As generations of Pirate lacrosse alumni know, this plaque is an important part of the team's pregame ritual, and “loose but amped” is a mantra in the face of any challenge.
As the Jeff and Beth Young Athletic Fields Project began to take shape, everyone agreed that this long-awaited improvement to our campus presented a great opportunity to ensure that Matt and his story remain forever an important part of Stevenson's athletic culture. Towards that end, the practice wall on the new field will be know as "Matt's Wall," and a new plaque—honoring Matt as a bridge between Stevenson and Middlebury, and still featuring his sage advice—will continue to inspire teams in the minutes before they take the field, and also kids who, carrying just their stick and a bag of balls, head up to the complex at dawn or dusk to work hard, get better, and demonstrate the same commitment to excellence that was Matt's hallmark.
Thus far, $104,000 has been committed to support this effort.
The plaque that was donated to honor Matt many years ago has continued to serve as a touchstone for lacrosse teams. The plaque at the new wall will be similar to this one so this tradition can continue.