Sunday, July 25, 2010

Minnesota Day 5

I was pretty happy to see the last day at my doorstep yesterday. I was tired and banged up pretty good. My knee now has this loud/hard popping when I unbend it from a sharp bend. Kinda worried I'm not going to graduate from PT now, but the original pain I went in for didn't bother me one bit, so I guess that's something.

The practice schedule was pretty light. Only 2 hours and the first hour, we hardly saw any shots. But my calves were burning so badly, I was happy to just have a long warm-up. The final practice was the red team and LOTS of shots.

I feel kinda stupid saying this, seeing as I've been playing for a year and a half, but I realized during the red practice, that the stance I've been playing in is too high. I started getting really low in my stance and stopped almost everything. I think there's a strength factor there because being low AND mobile is the trick and that takes strength. I was pretty pleased I was able to do it, being so tired.

A friend I used to play with in Texas before she came up to MN for her internship came by and we had lunch after that. Sat outside and just enjoyed some really beautiful weather and tasty food at Coopers by my hotel. Then we headed back for my final hour of ice, the red group's scrimmage.

Chris "HOSS" Jerina and his lovely gal, Michelle, also came down for the scrimmage, so it was pretty cool to have the market on fans in the stands between the three of them. Unfortunately, I didn't play so well in the first half and let in 4 goals to 1 at the other end. But then we switched ends and things got a little better. I let a couple in, as did the other goalie, and the head coach (who reminded me in demeanor of Jacques Lemaire and didn't know my name, so he called me "Houston") says over the loud speaker, "Goalies? Jax, Houston, don't go down unless you have to. Get square and you'll stop most everything."

So, you know me, I'm thinking, "Don't coach me in the middle of a game, dude. And also, thanks for letting the teams know to shoot low."

Next shot on me? I stayed up. Caught it in the crook of my elbow as they tried to pick the corner. Ha! So I thanked him for the coaching tip, which definitely helped me seal it up the rest of the game. I guess maybe I looked kinda biased for the white team since I let a bunch in at their end and then played well in goal for them. Haha. Oh well.

The highlight of my game was a diving poke check like none I've ever even attempted. It was full on Brustyfied, knocking players over like bowling pins.  I think I pretty much just startled them all so much and sent at least 2 people flying and got myself all tangled up that the chaos gave my team time to pick up the puck and get out of the zone.

It was cool, too, because I didn't think about it. And those are the kinds of goalie moves you just can't think about. You just have to feel them in the moment and go. My 1-second thought process was, "I've let a few in here and I'm not feeling real confident. I don't want this person shooting on me, so I'm gonna do what I have to do to prevent it." Apparently Chris got pics of this, so I'm hoping they turn out. I'll post the good ones here when he gets them together.

I have to admit, I was fighting back tears a little at the end. It was a really great experience and I love playing so much, even though it hurts and I'm exhausted, goaltending is really an bottomless pit of learning and growing and improving, so what a treat to get to do SO MUCH of it in such a short time. I feel like I got a lot out of the camp, even though I failed to really focus on anything specific to work on like I'd planned. It kinda turned into more of a survival thing.

But just in the course of seeing that much rubber, you HAVE to learn something.

Anyway, after all that, Chris and Michelle and I headed over to Cossetta's across from the Xcel Center where the Wild play. I guess a few of the players snag their pre-game meals there, which I understand. It's pretty darn good stuff. And then we walked a block up to Tom Reid's where we proceeded to throw a few back and laugh at the parade of douchebaggery that was coming in and out the door. At least the douchebags of the world seem to have figured out that Ed Hardy and Affliction t-shirts are over. Props for that, I guess. The king of the douchebags needs to send the memo about popped collars and ridiculous hats though.

But it was super fun hanging with those two, who are living Bad Idea Bears. "Drunk texing? YAAAAAAAAYYYY! Do itttt!" :) I didn't, BTW, in spite of a very tempting premise, other than to tell Bourney about Michelle questioning whether the Islanders were still a team. Hahaha... ouch.

Back to Texas today though. Gonna grab some breakfast and then lay my gear out in the sun to try and get it a little bit drier before I pack it all up. Another long slog through the airport today. Hopefully I can find a cart and an elevator this time to make it not so clumsy and painful. Or a strapping man. But I'm thinking a cart is more likely.


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