Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Good things happen

I'm just hours away from being finished with the biggest project of my career. Literally years in the making but a year and half of actual focused work (along with all my other responsibilities at work). It's been a learning process, but I'm proud of how it's turned out.

Goaltending isn't like this project, where at some point I can just call it done and then switch to maintenance mode. It's a constant process and you can never be too quick or too focused or too good. Not that I'm pushing those boundaries by any means.

But I am happy where I'm at right now. I used to get so overwhelmed, as you know from reading this, at how much there is to learn and the bajillion things I could be doing to improve. But when I was out with my knee injury, I think I got some perspective on what playing goal means to me and its place in my life.

Now, it's almost 100% pleasure. I want to play well and I'm always looking to fix problems in my game where I'm getting burned. There's a myth that I'm not trying to improve, but even that doesn't bother me much because I'm the only one who sees every game I play and I know I'm better than I was even a few months ago. It happens in little ways: challenging a little more aggressively, reading plays better, putting rebounds in safer places, looking for opportunities to play the puck, staying focused after bad goals or when I'm tired.

There are a million ways to improve as a goalie that maybe aren't completely obvious.

And with my knee bumming me again (and really for the better part of 2010), I've had to look inside more for ways to improve. If I've got physical limitations, then the logical thing is to focus on the mental side of the game. So that's where I've been lately and I'm feeling really good about it.


Monday was a good drop-in and probably the best I've played that in a while (though I've been particularly unhappy with my game there lately, so maybe it's not saying much). Started to lose some focus at the end, but one of the guys kept telling me after what a good game I had. Always nice to hear from someone with no vested interest in giving their opinion one way or the other.

Scotty was in the other net and I know he wants me to write here about how hard he was on me after the game because I stay on my knees too much and that I'm pissed at him or whatever. I was for a bit, just because, as I said, I was pleased with the outing. But he's right. I do stay on my knees like I'm getting paid to be there. I know this. That aspect gets better when my knee isn't bothering me so much. Hopefully getting back on the PT bandwagon will start improving that and let me build strength in my weak leg again.

I was going pretty well at that before I went to camp in Minnesota, and that week just wrecked my progress. I'll get back there, but it's a process.


Tuesday, I played for the red team again (of last week's un-shutout fame). My hopes of a shutout were dashed 14 seconds into the game when I let in the softest goal in the history of mankind. I could make excuses but I just wasn't ready.

Yesterday made me its bitch, work-wise. I was fried and it took me a full period to work up the "fight" I needed. Once I did, I was fine. It was that goal and two breakaways (one of which I should have had... stick on the ice, dummy).

We got the win though. My girls battled hard and put 5 goals on the other team. One was probably the sickest goal I've seen from an amateur. Basically a behind the net goal that she whipped in and punched in off the back of the goalie. I just stood there for a full minute with my mouth hanging open. It was unreal.

The nicest part was before the game when one of the gals asked if I was their goalie tonight. I said yes, and she said, "Good, I like when you play for us. Good things happen." What, like being 0-2-1? Haha. But whatever. I may not have gotten my shutout but I won that team's trust last week and that's more important to me.

I find that these women's league games are really meaningful for me. My teammates, even though they change each week, inspire me and I want to play well for them. This has had the effect of improving my willingness to scramble and dive and do whatever I have to to keep the puck out. It's showing up even at drop-in. It's still not ingrained like I'd like, but I'm happy to see that mental shift to a little more of a battler. I'm proud of that.


Cool weather is coming tomorrow. It was 94 here today. Fuck that noise. Hockey weather, please. Like NOW!

Hey, I don't say it enough but thanks for reading. I'd write even if nobody read it, but it's nice when you know people are amused, inspired, or just can flat out relate to this stuff in my head. Or maybe you're just a glutton for punishment. :) Either way, a lot of you come back day after day and it means a lot to me that you do.


wychwood  October 28, 2010 at 4:43 AM  

I really enjoy reading your posts! I don't often have anything to contribute, but I'm always interested.

artandhockey  October 28, 2010 at 10:23 AM  

Not being a player, I enjoy your bblogs for the human(woman)points of view. And the peek into the mind of a goalie..and writer!
Yes, you are right, it does feel good knowing that people read AND comment on one's outpourings.
Keep it up! Baring one's soul can be so beneficial..also saves a lot on Dr.s fees... just kidding!
BTW the WORD to post this is kinda apropos...:-) hotstuf

Nick  October 28, 2010 at 2:10 PM  

I always enjoy reading your blog. I still have your quote on my whiteboard here at work ... "You still have to get a few you shouldn't, but you definitely have to get all the ones you should". Keep it up!

maalivahti  October 30, 2010 at 7:14 PM  

Glad to hear your scramble-reaction is starting to kick in. I know that's something you've been wanting to change for a while. And I'm glad you write, because I know that there's at least one other nutcase in the world like me. :P

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