BENNINGTON — It didn't have the perfect sunshine that the past years have, but in the fifth annual Blue Lollipop Road Play It Forward event, the smiles more than made up for it.
Hosted by 1996 Mount Anthony alum Diane Peacock, Play It Forward brought in more than 20 former MAU soccer players to play a shortened alumni game, dodging raindrops throughout the afternoon to get it in.
"We always get people at the last minute, life gets busy, they find out what's happening and they want to be here," Peacock said. "I figured that no one would come, thinking we canceled it, but I sent out the emails [telling people] that we are still going. Plus, we used to love playing in the rain."
After waiting out a couple batches of passing showers, Peacock started the festivities by thanking everyone involved and a remembrance of her friends, Maria Greene and Brandy Brown, along with others who support Play it Forward who have passed in recent years.
"It's bittersweet for Maria and Brandy's family to be here, but I'm thankful for them to be here," Peacock said. "I think the most important thing is knowing that people remember [their children]."
As for the game, it ended up being the young versus the old — with some of the original players from the first years of the MAU girls' soccer program on one side, including Tracy Bushee, who designed the logo for BLR.
Also on that side were two of the legendary competitors in Mount Anthony history, Nicole Levesque, the state record-holder for goals that she held for 24 years before it was broken this year and Shelley Addison (Smith), an All-American in her days at MAU and now the women's soccer coach at Division I South Carolina.
Addison even scored off a corner kick during the contest.
"It's totally awesome to get many different alumni, it's awesome camaraderie and a team sport, especially people coming back to Bennington," Peacock said. "It's a bond forever and it continues to grow."
All the money raised will go toward a service trip to Mount Anthony's sister city in Nicaragua.