Well, it's pretty amazing what a night off between games will do for your energy and mental focus and compete level. I hadn't realized how much I was really drained by the third night of 3 in 3 until tonight when I played Tuesday drop-in with fresh legs.
It was one of my best games ever. And really one of the first where guys had to change their shooting strategy to try and beat me. It wasn't all just get in close and poke away. They actually had to work for their goals. I may not have all the tools yet but if I can make this bunch earn their goals, I count it as a good night.
I was amped. Tons of energy and it helped that we had 4 goalies (grrrr, just when I'd accepted 3). I only played about 45 minutes total, so my energy stayed high.
I did struggle with the "playing well" distraction a bit. I tried to put it away to enjoy it later but it really was a battle mentally to just stay focused on the job and not get too cocksure.
The main thing I was doing well was staying square to the puck and being patient with the shooter, making them make the first move, and trying to stay at the appropriate depth for where the shooter was. When I did all that well, it worked. When I bit early and didn't keep moving with the shooter, I got burned.
Anyway, under the guise of never to high, never too low, I'm going to give you my report in pro player speak:
"I felt alright out there. A couple I'd probably take back, but mainly the boys did a great job letting me see the puck and clearing rebounds. The credit goes to them for being on their toes and battling in front of me."Though I really do mean that. The "dad" of the group finally put his foot down and got my team's bench playing short shifts (I type "shits" EVERY time I try to type shifts) and boy did they play MUCH better defense almost to the end of the game because they were maintaining their energy levels better. It was much more pleasant to be the goalie in those circumstances.
Typically this drop-in, a bunch of guys take 3-minute shifts and by the last half hour, they're dragging ass and it's just break away after break away.
Bang and I did 15 minute shifts in goal and, honestly, I love being the back-up goalie as much as being the goalie. I just love to watch hockey, cheer the boys on, especially when I've got one team the whole game. (And it's so nice to not switch ends. When I have to change teams, I spend the whole time going, "Dark team bad. Dark team bad. Dark team bad" so I remember who is shooting on me.)
Hell I even like opening the door for them. :) One of the guys... I was thisclose to asking him if he's single because I have a girlfriend I want to hook him up with. Such a sweet guy and treats me so well. He came off the ice and the bench was full, so he just stood next to me and put his elbow up on my shoulder and we chatted. Adorable and just a breath of fresh air.
I've been getting there WAY early lately, too, and stretching and just chatting with some of the guys. It's helping me humanize them a bit and not feel so intimidated. Also, I'm not as sore after thanks to the stretching.
Hmm. I'm on a decent upswing since that terrible Tuesday two weeks ago. Feels good.
Sham Sweatband report: AWESOME! The one I made is about one layer too thick for my taste, so I still need to experiment to get it perfect, but the thing was hardly damp afterward and my old terry ones, I certainly could have wrung a drop or two out of even with the short time I played. I could have played for two hours straight before I'd have even had to think about it with the sham band.
It's a winner for sure. I had two weights of sham material, so I've made one of each. I'll try the one with the lighter, softer sham material Sunday and see how it does. That will be a full 1.25 or so hours of game action so that will be an even better test.
I'm a little amazed but let's keep this shit mellow: