Why I Hate Playing Goaltender (But Will Never Stop)
Yeah, I am a hockey goaltender. It’s the worst position on the team. If your team wins, everyone taps your helmet and tells you what a great job you did. If you lose, your entire team bashes you relentlessly in the locker room and blames the whole loss on you. It’s an all-or-nothing position. You are the last line of defense. If your offense fails to score and you lose, it is your fault. If your defense mails it in, and you get scored on, it is also your fault.
Here are some great examples of how impossible it is to be “coached” by your captain (who does not play goalie):
I. “Dude. Next time they get a breakaway, you need to poke-check the fucking puck out of their possession. That guy has beaten you twice this game!”
[Sure enough, your defense gets caught way out of position, and you’re faced with a breakaway. You attempt to poke-check the puck [while stationary – with a guy flying at you at 30mph], fail epically, and the dude scores on a wide-open net.]
Your captain then screams at you for “Being out of position.” Right, bro. I was “poke-checking” the guy. Christ.
II. “Play the puck. Don’t worry about the guy standing in the back door. That’s on the defense. Just play the puck and concentrate on the guy with the puck and no one else.”
[You are faced with a 2-on-1, you are squared up with the player with the puck. At the last possible moment, he appears to shoot, so you drop into butterfly [effectively freezing your body.] The puck instead sails backdoor to their wide-open forward who your defensemen failed to cover. He tips the puck into a wide-open net with ease. You lose.]
Your captain then says, “DUDE! What the fuck!!!! How did you let him score!?? You NEED to SAVE Those!”
Well, my dear Watson, how the fuck do you intend I do that? I only have one body, and it only covers so much space. Of course, I’d love to be Neo from the Matrix and be two places at once, but that’s not how the rules of the time-space continuum work in fucking hockey. How about that defenseman you were talking about be in fucking position and break up that pass? Oh right, that’s not his job… Or is it?
III. “Ok. This is a penalty shot. Just concentrate on the puck. Don’t make the first move. Let him react first.”
[The guy storms towards you at full speed, with a bag full of mutha-fuckin tricks he’s been practicing ever since he saw them on youtube. You are fucked. However, in the process of trying to be Alexander Ovechkin and “dangling” you, the idiot loses the puck and it sails harmlessly over the net.]
Your captain then says, “Haha. That dude totally had you beat. It’s a good thing he sucks. Otherwise he totally would have scored.” Yeah, because the fact that I was in fucking position had no impact on him bobbling the puck and fucking up his shot. Right.
IV. Your team is losing 10-4 with 3 minutes left in the game. You are going to lose. Then some asshole attempts to “Michigan” you, so you punch him in the fucking face for being Bush League. Or some guy spears you in the stomach while screening you on the power play, so you cross-check his spine. Or some idiot crashes the net and punches you in the face, so you slash him. Or the opposing team’s forward slashes the back of your knees as the ref isn’t looking, so you punch him in the junk. You get penalties on all these situations. Your captain yells at you. Whatever.
V. “Dude. You NEED to play the fucking puck when it’s in the zone. Pass that shit to me on the power play!!! Come on! Do something!!!”
[With 0:28 to play, and down by 3 goals, you leave your crease and fling the puck down the rink as hard as you can, hoping in this final act of desperation, that someone from your team receives your blind pass and does something productive with it. They don’t. The other team intercepts your stick-handling, and throws the puck into the empty net. Again, it is all your fucking fault. You are the goalie and you are the sole, 100% reason your team lost. Not the marijuana they smoked in the car before the game. Not the hangover they got in Vegas the night before. Not the fact that the defense took the night off. No, none of that matters. You are the goalie, and unless you register a shutout every night, you are a complete and abject failure to this team.]
In the locker room after the game, your captain makes some passive aggressive comment like “Nice pass, dude. Thanks for costing us the game…” Yeah, bro. Like we were going to score 3 fucking goals in 28 seconds with no timeouts left in a league that doesn’t stop the clock when play is dead. Right. I cost us the game with that last goal. Of course, the fact that you missed four wide-open nets today and decided to take the shot 12 times when you had an open man backdoor has nothing to do with it. Or the fact that I actually stopped 7 of the 10 breakaways the other team had this game. Oh, you missed those saves? Nice. Blame me. Makes perfect sense.
So you’re probably asking yourself why I choose to play “scapegoat”…, er, goalie. One reason, and one reason only: