I know in minor hockey, both those things can be true.
No one will tell you this, but being a goalie parent is hard. Stressful. Agonizing sometimes.
Miss one stop as a goalie and it’s a goal.
Worse, if the defense totally collapses and it’s 3 on 0, (which happens a lot for some reason in minor hockey)and, big surprise, there’s a goal. The expectation is that the goalie should have found a way to stop it.
Honestly, at this level, it’s about 50/50 that a goalie will stop a shot. The really good ones can stop most ice level shots with a clever use of their pads or with a determined death grip on their stick. Few can stop a high arcing wrist shot. Fewer still can stop a deek-out.
I’ve tried to ask the youngest what he feels when there’s only him and a shooter. No defense. No help.
Does he feel tense?
Or does he accept the challenge?
Does he worry he’s gonna get scored on?
Or does he know he’s gonna stop that shot?
I wish I knew. When he’s older, I’ll have to find out. I need to know.
Cuz for me, for most goalie parents, that moment is fraught with massive tension. If he makes it, he’ll be the hero and if he’s the hero, the other kids will like him and if they like him, he’ll have tons of confidence and if he has tons of confidence, he’ll do well in life and get a lovely wife, have a great job and become really, really good at Minecraft.
If he doesn’t make that save, then the team will hate him, he’ll hate himself, he’ll drop out of hockey, marry an aging and kinda sad Lindsey Lohan, work at McDonalds and become really, really good at Minecraft.
Oh, I know not that much is at stake.
It’s a game after all. It’s supposed to be fun.
None of this is supposed to matter much. We never mention any shots he missed, we only mention the great saves he makes (and he does make a lot of them!)
Yet, deep down, when that breakaway happens, I will the hockey gods to be on his side and let me make that stop.
Because I know it’s important to him that he make that stop.
That he’s the hero he imagines himself to be.