Fri 18 Apr 2008
My favourite goalie in the whole world. Photos by my dad.
Last weekend, Jordan’s team played in the championship game for his hockey division. It was a nailbiter, with our team looking like it would take the win until the very last minutes, when the other team came from behind to take it. It was a great game, with both teams playing hard. The champions were undefeated in the playoffs and second place is nothing to sniff at. Jordan played well and made some great saves. And we celebrated with family for the whole day.
I don’t know how he does it. Being the goalie is so out there. You are One. You don’t blend in with the rest of your team. And your mistakes are counted on the scoreboard for all to see. Only I count all the shots kept out of the net. People tend to see the loss and think, “if the goalie had only stopped more shots…”. But in this game, like many others, the losing team’s goalie had a higher save percentage than the winning team’s goalie. It its truly a team sport, but the goal tender is right out there, in plain view. He plays the whole game and knows that the less informed blame him for games he didn’t lose. There are a lot of things that are difficult about being a parent, and parenting Jordan has had it special challenges. But one of the hardest things about my role as Jordan’s Mom, is being a Goalie Mom. It isnt’ the schedule or driving to games and practices. It isn’t even that we have to hemorrhage money every year for new equipment (but being a regular player would be WAY cheaper)… it is the stress. I know how much pressure he is under – from himself, but mostly from his teammates and their parents. I know how bad he feels when a goal goes in. I know that he knows that sometimes people blame him when it isn’t his fault. I know that some players intentionally charge the goalie trying to injure him. And while he seems to actually ENJOY all that… I sit in the stands wondering vaguely if I’m having a heart attack and feeling my hair going grey and mouth going dry and I try to remember why I didn’t sign him up for choir or something instead.
The answer of course is, because Jordan has always loved hockey and from the time he was two years old, he said he was a goalie. To a parent, this is a Sign – not that your child is going to play in the NHL, but that you really need to make room in your family life for hockey, and a lot of it. And yeah. We’ve done and are doing that, but I am certain it has shortened my lifespan significantly.
Glove save! Always a crowd pleaser :)
A few weeks ago, Jordan got out the ministicks and taught The Baby to play. The Baby took to it right away and brings sticks to us, especially to Jordan, so we play stick hockey in the kitchen with him. Jordan insists that he will be a goalie too but I find myself saying, very firmly, “No”. This is contrary to my parenting philosophy – that you must follow your child’s lead, take cues and listen. That you must do what you reasonably can to give them the opportunity and tools to explore and experience what interests them. But I don’t know if I can do this again. Hockey Mom, yes. Goalie Mom, I’m not so sure. I know parents whose kids played goal for a while, then the parents found it to be too much and told them no more goal tending and that was it. I know parents who have an older child who is a goaltender and then didn’t give the option to their younger children.
I know that it is too soon to decide. I know that some of the biggest and proudest things Jordan has ever accomplished are part of being a hockey goalie. I know that it is about him and not about me. But I also know that when The Baby picks up a ministick to play hockey in the kitchen, I’ll often remove from his hand the goalie stick he chose and give him a player’s stick instead.