Sunday, August 4, 2013

Goalie retirement?

So, I'm just gonna put this out there and hope for clarity to smack me in the face, because while I definitely know what direction I lean, I don't know if it's for the right reasons.

I'm thinking of retiring from playing hockey. 

Part of it is that I just don't look forward to playing. I don't exactly dread it, but there is no part of me thinking, "Yay! I get to get hit by pucks and possibly humiliated!" The fact that I sum up goaltending like that probably says it all. These days, I'm just so grateful when I don't get lit up, but I don't get particularly excited about any other part of it.

Wins are nice. Saves are nice. But nothing has me pumping my fist and feeling like a million bucks. I make a great save on a good player and I think, "Bah. Got lucky. You'll probably get me next time."

How pathetic is that? The love, the thrill, is definitely gone.

Another part of it is leaving my hockey home in Houston. I loved the women's league there, despite a fair amount of bitchiness (sometimes from me, I'll admit), those were people who, even when I didn't really want to be playing goal most nights, made it totally worth my while because I enjoyed the level of competition, the players, hanging out after, etc. The intangibles made up completely for having to talk myself onto the ice.

Not that women's league in Dallas is bad at all. Everyone is nice and despite a 6-game losing (and I mean monumental losing) streak to start my career here, they never gave me any reason to believe I was unwelcome. But they are a lot better, many have been playing a lot longer and at higher levels. It's slowing down for me a bit, and I feel like with work I could get better against them, but the idea of pouring energy into improving my game just makes me feel like, "ugh."

Meanwhile, I'm really getting into my running. I joined a half marathon training group and instantly felt at home with them. I love that I can just do my thing and nobody is depending on me but me, yet I still get a "team" vibe during training. I love that I don't have to wear 35 lbs of sweaty, smelly gear to run. It's no cheaper, between race fees, good shoes, training fees, etc. but money was never the issue.

I just worry that I'll regret it. Women's league even falls on our "crosstraining" day of the training schedule, so it makes sense in that regard. And I really feel like once I stop using those weird goalie muscles, that's the end of it. It would be very hard to come back and play again.

Mr.C suggested taking a season off and then playing one more, but as far as I can tell, there's winter season and summer season, so it would be 9 months before I'd play again. Maybe by the time winter season starts, I'll either miss it or be ready to call it quits.

Just feels super weird to be abandoning two things that were so fundamental to me not very long ago. Not writing about hockey and now potentially not playing hockey? Seems crazy. So I'm wondering: Am I abandoning something I need to instead be fighting for or am I just changing and growing?

I never thought about quitting in Houston and I really hadn't here either (though I will say I didn't miss it while we were moving and I was off for about 6 weeks) until I was just getting hammered brutally in all my games. But now I've won 3 in a row and I still am just counting the weeks until the season is over (that would be 3 more after tonight, if you'd like to count along).

Being a goalie is something special. When you want to be in net, it's utterly thrilling, empowering, and badass. But when you don't want to be there, it's almost unbearable and the results tend to rat you out.

Speaking of which, I have to get my gear ready for tonight's game. From here on out, it's an effort to go out strong and not feel like I'm leaving because I can't do it, but because I simply don't want to.


wychwood  August 5, 2013 at 5:36 AM  

It makes me sad that you're thinking of giving up, because I really enjoyed reading your posts about playing - but I enjoyed them because you were passionate about it, and if you're not any more then that's a perfectly good reason to stop. I hope you make the choices that bring the most happiness overall, even if I'll miss your writing about it!

Ms. Conduct  August 5, 2013 at 7:22 AM  

Nothing surprises me any more, but honestly, after writing this, I went to hockey and it felt really really normal. I was like, "Now, why was I thinking about quitting?" LOL Maybe I just needed to admit and accept that I was willing to let it go if it continued to not fulfill me. I dunno.

I did find out that there's a 2 week break and then the fall season runs through December, so I may give that a shot and then decide from there.

I agree it makes me sad, too, just as much as it seems like it would be a relief to not play any more. That's why I've been so conflicted.

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