My son plays goalie for a house league team. It is difficult being the mom of a hockey goalie for many reasons. My friends and the other hockey moms think the hardest part is the cost of goalie gear, but that’s not it. The gear is expensive – I don’t want to play that part down – as my son is now into his 5th set of pads in 9 years and they get bigger and more costly each time as he grows.
The hard part of being the mom though, is the emotional strain of watching the game. I sit in the stands and watch the game with a lot of focus on how he is positioned to block the next goal, and how much time is on the clock for the other team to take more shots at his net. I watch every nuance of the play as it comes to his end, the fierceness of the player taking the shot, the determination of my son to block it, the defense players positioned to grab the rebound so another shot is not hammered at the net after he successfully blocked a shot.
There are so many moments of emotion, both glee and turmoil…
- the thrill as he catches the puck in his glove and drops it onto the ice with a twist of the wrist
- the anguish as a breakaway occurs and it is boy against boy and a hard shot is taken and the puck slams into the net
- the drama of a solid shot that is blocked, a shuffle for the rebound, another shot taken on the other side of the net, a last second block, and then my son dropping onto the puck
- the joy of watching his teammates skate past and tap his head for support after he lets in a goal
- the pain of listening to the cheers of the fans in the stands when a goal is scored against our team
- the fear when a large player comes barreling down the ice, takes a shot, and continues flying into my son knocking him backwards, collapsing on top of him and knocking the net off the pegs…and waiting breathlessly for him to get back up
- the rapture of the sound of the final buzzer when the game is done and his team has won
- the physical drain of watching him skate off the ice after a loss and knowing I can’t hug him until he is home
- the pride I feel as he looks into the stands when he hears me shout and gives that small tip of his big goalie glove to me
- the love I feel at night when I tuck him in after a loss and he says quietly, “that really stinks that I let in the goals mom”, and I say “you’ll get them next week buddy”
Today he had a hockey game, and today he had a shut out. For anyone who is not a hockey fan, that means he let in no goals. I am there for him no matter what and we do talk about the fact that in a team sport, you never win alone and you never lose alone. But just for today, after this one game with no goals, the emotion I feel for him is pure bliss.