Playing goalie is like being drunk…
… you don’t know what KIND you’re going to be until you actually DO it.
Will you laugh a lot?
Lose your temper?
Be chatty and giggle?
I have played goalie only twice, back in the early days of JMS Hockey. In 2004, when there were only two levels and we skated only on Fridays, I needed a goalie two weeks in a row. So I strapped on the pads down at St. Thomas Ice Arena. (Yes, that is how much I love JMS; I made a fool of myself so people could shoot at me and not a board.) I was TERRIBLE, but it was fun.
At the time, my regular position was defense, and I always felt a camaraderie with my D partner in the hierarchy of play: if someone on the other team was driving our way with the puck, the forwards would try to stop him first. Then my defense partner and I would try to shut him down. But I always knew the goalie was truly the last line of defense.
My perception changed when I took the net.
Where previously, as a defender, I had felt twinned with my partner and backed up by the goalie, now as netminder I felt I was part of a team together WITH the defense. The forwards were “them” and we were “us.” If the puck got by “them,” then working together, “we” would stop it.
And so trying net for the first time, it turns out I’m a chatty goalie (who knew??). I talked to the D–my new “buddies,” and hollered about screens, clearing the slot, going in the corner. The night was invigorating and exciting, and things certainly looked different from my adjusted perspective. Needless to say, many, many goals were scored that game.
The next day, like anyone who has overindulged the night before, I rubbed my aching bod and wondered why I had done such a foolish thing. I got swept up in the environment, made some bad choices, got into a situation over my head. What was I thinking??
I will leave the netminding to the people with true aptitude for it. Goalies, I salute you!