Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What's with the goalie love? Justin wants to know...

Always funny and insightful blogger, Justin Bourne, takes on Goalies today. He wants to know: Why do fans love them to a disproportionate degree over other position players? Why on earth would anybody BE one? Are they all nuttier than a bag full of rabid squirrels?

I have kind of a crazy theory on why chicks, at least, like goalies so much: It's a primal thing. Goalies protect the "nest." Everything about goalies says, "This is a man who will sacrifice and suffer, who will carry the burden on his shoulders and thrive under the pressure of responsibility. This is a man I can make babies with."

I'm not saying that's a literal thought process, hence the "primal"... but I think there's something to it. Plus, they're kinda mysterious with all that gear and rumors of wacky instability. Chicks dig a project, even if it's just figuring a guy out.


I love to hear how goalies became goalies, but it always seems like guys are a little hesitant to answer. I've always thought it was because they've answered it a million times and are sick of the question, but clearly people want to know, because it does seem like a rather illogical thing to do. Especially to decide on it as a kid.

But then I thought maybe they're like me and really the answer is, "I just did." Simple as that. I just realized one day, I have to be a goalie. I don't know that I've ever felt so strongly about something in my life; like my internal compass just points Goalie.

For the longest time, I couldn't fathom why anybody *wouldn't* want to be a goalie. I would sit on the bench when I was first playing as a winger and swallow the jealous pangs I was feeling watching the goalies make saves. I wanted to be out there doing that so bad I could taste it.

Now? Well, now I get not wanting to be a goalie. The highs are WAY higher but the lows are literally breathtakingly low at times. I think at any other position, it's a little more of an even ride, especially as you're learning. I never spent Monday crying over skating out. I also never drove home singing at the top of my lungs skating out.

Sunday nights are sort of like Fight Club for me. It's where I get to see what I'm made of, and no matter what happens, I've at least scraped the doldrums of responsible adulthood off myself for a few days. I get to scream and cheer and battle and feel victorious, shitty, loved, and lonely all in that 90 minutes of ice. And if I don't leave the rink with something hurting, then I'm a little let down. Shoot, boys, and shoot hard. I want to feel it.


And you know, they say goalies are crazy, yet I'm the most mental one I know. Most are smart and level-headed, at least at the amateur level. Can't speak to the pros all that much, though I can't even imagine how those guys handle the pressure, and I can certainly see where on days where they play, there would be a rigorous routine to ensure the proper state of mind come game time.

They've all been super nice, too. Especially among each other. Generous with time and patience and advice, always. Goalies are good people who have a really difficult job to do, so sometimes they have employ weird measures to get it done right.

Anyway, Justin had questions:

Is it the pretty gear, guys?
That part is nice. Though it sucks as an amateur because it's so MFing expensive. But we do look kinda badass. Except for the ones with bad taste in gear. Talking to you, Drew MacIntyre.

The fact that the position is utterly devoid of skating?
I love to skate, but I have a personal space bubble that I really don't like others in. I hated that part of playing out. As a goalie, I have my own space bubble on the ice that players are wise to steer clear of. As I've mentioned, I don't take to tight screens too well.

The glory of the glove save?

Haven’t you whack-jobs ever scored a goal? Don’t you have any idea how good that feels?
Yep. Just the one though. And while I was delighted to finally get a goal, my primary mental picture looking back is of Scott slumped on his knees after it was called a goal and feeling badly for making the goalie sad. Man, I hate a sad goalie more than anything. Sad shooter? Who gives a shit? Shooters get plenty of chances to try again.

What did your parents do to you?
Well, I'm an only-child, which explains an awful lot.

Are you non-goalies out there aware of how hard a frozen hockey puck is? And I can shoot one 80 miles an hour. Which end of that do you wanna be on?
I wanna be the one saying NO! You spent years learning to shoot a puck that hard and I just negated all that work by simply being in the way. Better luck next time.

Brusty says no. Photo by Fred Trask

Goalies: Spend half the game alone. No chance to be the hero of the moment, only consistency bring accolades. 50% odds of being the goat.
  • What's wrong with being alone? You have the best seat on the ice to watch hockey. Not a thing wrong with that.
  • Hero moment? Oh, I got your hero moment, hot shot.
  • The goat thing is totally true though.
But you know why it's SO awesome to score a goal? Because there was a goalie trying to stop you. :)


sarah  August 25, 2009 at 9:19 PM  

"I wanna be the one saying NO! You spent years learning to shoot a puck that hard and I just negated all that work by simply being in the way. Better luck next time."

I think this pretty much sums up why I would be a goalie if I could...I like being the person to shut it down versus the weasel trying to sneak it in.
Nice points to counter JT. I also do not like to see sad goalies, unless they're punks like Giguere. Those guys can be lit up and I'm cool with it. :)

Sally  August 25, 2009 at 10:26 PM  

1. You are awesome.

2. As I said on Justin's blog, goalie masks keep your face from getting busted up (see: Lundqvist, Henrik).

Anonymous  August 25, 2009 at 11:56 PM  

For me, I think part of liking goalies is more the control/individualistic aspect. You control what you do, how you react. Its the most individual part of hockey. If you are a winger, you got 2 other people you gotta be looking out for. Dmen have a partner. A goalie is basically just you. Hockey is a team sport but if the goalie is off (or on) it can really hamper (or help) the rest of the guys. I hope that made sense, it was difficult to put into words at this moment. Midterm burnout :)

Justin Bourne  August 26, 2009 at 8:51 AM  

I'm working on a theory, where goaltending is like sexuality. It's biological, not a choice. It just takes some people a little time to admit to themselves that they're a goalie, and then even longer to admit it to everyone else.
Plus, it would explain all the flashy gear and why style is a priority.

Ms. Conduct  August 26, 2009 at 8:56 AM  

You forgot to say, "Not that there's anything wrong with that."

Goody  August 26, 2009 at 9:09 AM  

Ms.C, I assume that was you making the comment on Bourne's blog.

I think maybe the link in you name over there isn't quite what you want it to be.

Ms. Conduct  August 26, 2009 at 9:13 AM  

Oh shit! I got my own URL wrong! And frankly, I think if someone's going to let their blog go to the dogs like that, I should get it, right?

Fred Trask  August 26, 2009 at 9:19 AM  

I dunno, you always hear about coaches wanting guys to be a solid "two way" player.

Nice theory though Justin.

Amy  August 26, 2009 at 10:02 AM  

Nice theories...but what about us Girl goalies? I do love my gear...

artandhockey  August 26, 2009 at 10:29 AM  

This may be a bit off, but the masked aspect of a goalie delivers so much more "mystery" and "let's discover what's behind (under) it" and what gets me always, THE EYES -which is about all one can see! Hhmm, doesn't anyone see the connection to the burqua or yashmak, except this is for MALE goalies! No offense Ms. C. :-)... how does a male react to a female goalie? Protectress of the babes?

Ms. Conduct  August 26, 2009 at 10:41 AM  

I don't think any coaches want a two-way goalie, Fred. Though at times, I've been one. :)

Fred Trask  August 26, 2009 at 12:10 PM  

LOL Ms. C, I was talking about skaters being two way. Even the NHL doesn't want goalies to be two way players, sigh.

CatTrick  August 26, 2009 at 1:01 PM  

Past blogs likening hockey players to animals have brought forth baskets of puppies and kittens, respectively. Mentioning a bag of rabid squirrels ... hmmmm, Ms. C., either I've been reading your blog too long or my own twisted take leaves me to conjure up an image of a certain beloved (always funny and insightful blogger) female goalie nutting some poor, unsuspecting forward attempting to invade the nest. :) :) :)

Great theories ... protecting the nest brings to mind stable, family-man types, like Nolan Schaefer. Wacky instability, Patrick Roy. Mysterious, hero-moment type, ohhh, you so nailed it with Fleury. And who can forget Anton Khudovin's 23rd birthday shut-out?

Seems like there are about as many reasons to love a goalie as there are to love the game itself. Even tho we all know that hockey is as close to perfect as a game can get, I bet there are as many deeply personal reasons as there are hockey fans, as to why we devote ourselves to this awesome game. It's like that internal compass you mentioned, points Hockey. It doesn't get better than that.

Aubrey  August 26, 2009 at 4:56 PM  

Wow, I'd never (consciously anyway) thought of goalies as nest protectors before, but that makes perfect sense! Thanks for the insight (And the rest of this blog makes me want to take up goalie-ing. Only I'd be one of the batshit crazy ones.)

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