Playing goalie: why do they do it?

Goalies have a reputation for being crazy, insane, or a little “off”. What drives an individual to jump into the position? Is it an inherit personality trait? An unfortunate accident? I have my own reasons, of course, but I wondered what makes other people do it? I asked a few goalie friends of mine, and got some interesting responses.

It was an accident. Most of the people I talked to were former defensemen. Me too, I suppose. One day the goalie can’t show up, or the team loses a goalie, and the next thing you know you’re volunteering to strap on the pads. I find that you either take to it right away, or you don’t like it.

They love the thrill. Being able to trash-talk to friends about stopping all their “weak” shots is certainly fun if you’ve got friends that can handle it. (Hehe!) And there’s the ecstatic feeling of making that one stupendous save that makes everyone in the arena cheer. I’m sure every athlete regardless of sport or position knows what that feels like.

Bring on the pressure. Probably the most logic-defying reason to play goalie is actually enjoying being the last line of defense for the team. A player can not score goals and the team can still at least tie game, a defenseman can miss a check or a pass and the team can still win, but if a goalie errors more than once, it could easily spell defeat. A goalie is relies on the skill of his team to win the game as much as the team relies on the goalie to play to perfection as much as possible.

Personally, I’m a mix of all of the above. I started playing hockey when I was 22 and played defense my first year because I was one of two people on the team who could kind of skate backwards. Our goalie announced she was leaving at the end of the season and I volunteered to be goalie next year if we didn’t find another one. I played street hockey that summer in preparation, as well as some pickup here and there. I took to it right away and absolutely loved the pressure, the glory and the action. Don’t get me wrong, my team was horrible, but it certainly gave me a lot of practice. 🙂

Thanks to joecwik, joeboughner, hockeycardshow, kezbat, GhostOtaku, alaskanchick and jasonboche for their responses.

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