The many emotions the parent of a goalie must face as they watch their child in net
By Allyson Tufts
If I had a dollar for every time another hockey parent would say to me, “I could never be a Goalie Mom, I don’t know how you do it,” I’d be rich right now. My standard answer has always been, “I don’t do it well.”
Don’t get me wrong, I am my son’s number one fan and have always been so proud of him. I admire his willingness to stand in net and not only face all the pucks coming his way but also face the scrutiny that comes along with being the last line of defense.
Being a Goalie Mom means dealing with so many emotions during a game, many of which are incredible and some very stressful. It’s hearing other parents tell you that your child needs to focus for the “whole” game at the age of six, seven, or eight. Unfortunately, at that age daydreaming is as much of a sport as hockey is. Parents that would yell “pay attention” when my child was in novice/mites seemed to forget that their child had just coughed up the puck because they had lost focus during their 40-second shift.
Being a Goalie Mom also means that you’re going to games armed with the knowledge that you’re either going to see your child full of confidence because they made that big save, or full of heartbreak because they let in the goal that cost the game.
Sacrifices are Made
When you’re a goalie mom, it means spending time in the parking lot during a playoff game because you just can’t bear to watch. It’s knowing that you can’t buy that new living-room furniture because the cost of their pads is going to be the equivalent. Each year you settle for new throw pillows for your house, content in the knowledge that your child is protected in net. It’s constantly hitting the stranger sitting next to you because you’re busy making imaginary saves from the stands. On a really bad day, it’s overhearing the other parents say they hope it’s the other goalie in net for the next game.
Worst of all, it’s the looks of sympathy you get after your child has had a bad game. That tilted head, sad-eyed look from the other parents who thank heavens their child isn’t the goalie.
Pride and Joy
Yes, those things are many of the challenges of being a Goalie Mom. But they don’t come close to the joy and pride that’s also felt each time your child takes their spot in net. There is nothing like watching your young netminder skate on the ice engulfed in that equipment for the first time. Their little legs stumbling to get to their crease just to fall down once they come to a stop. The feeling you get when they make that first save and celebrate while the play is still going on. The look of the bright-red cheeks and smiling eyes through the mask that makes them feel like they’re a superhero.
As they get older, it’s the joy of watching your young goalie spring from the butterfly in a split second, and make that incredible glove save or pad save to stop a puck in order to keep their team in the game. It’s the pride you feel when you watch your child cheer their team on from the bench, knowing they aren’t the starting goalie. Yes, I have to say there is nothing quite like it!
No Short Shifts for Goalies
So the next time you see a goalie dragging their equipment into the rink, I would ask you to consider this: They made that team by competing for only one of two spots. They are required to be at their best for the full game. There are no short shifts for a goalie. Their equipment is heavier than everyone else’s, but they’re expected to have cat-like reflexes. And, most importantly, if they make a mistake EVERYONE will notice. Yet in spite of all these challenges, young hockey players still want to strap on the pads and take their spot in net to be that last line of defense.
As a Goalie Mom, it’s true I see the game in a different way and tend to get defensive when I hear people describe goalies as “weird.” I guess that’s because in my experience I would describe them very differently. My description of a young player that makes the decision to be a goalie would be that they are brave, strong, and resilient.
So when someone asks me what it’s like to be a Goalie Mom, I’ll proudly say, “There’s nothing like it and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
To learn more about Allyson Tufts or to purchase your copy of Lessons from Behind the Glass (available exclusively at her website), go to www.lessonsfrombehindtheglass.com.
This article is the property of Allyson Tufts and is not to be used or changed without her permission.
Written by Allyson Tufts, Author, Speaker, and Passionate Hockey Mom
Lessons from Behind the Glass