Thursday, March 26, 2009

Today I thank the goalie mask

Some of you know that I still try to play a kids game called hockey. There is an organization in Mohave County that has kids and adult leagues/programs and play at Sara Park just south of Lake Havasu City. I've been playing the game for many years now, the position I play is goaltender. Anyone familiar with the sport might start to understand me a bit better knowing this little tid-bit. You see, goalies are considered a tad 'off' shall we say.

The mask pictured above is the mask I use to help protect this simply gorgeous face of mine (see, I'm a bit off).

Last night I had the opportunity to play a second game because another goalie couldn't go (he was going to play a second game but tweaked something and didn't want to risk further pain). Of course after traveling more than 60 miles one way for a hockey game I normally accept playing a second (or even a third) game. Gotta get my monies worth.

With about 5 or 6 minutes left in that second game the opposing team is on the attack in our zone. I have traffic in front of the crease and am looking for the shooter who is setting up about 15 to 18 feet away. He launches a heavy, rising shot towards the goal. Only problem... my head is in the direct path (but trust me, that is a good thing... at least my teamates think so).

So what followed in the very next instant is a rather loud and violent sound, almost an explosion of sorts. Luckily the puck falls right in front of me and I quickly cover it to get a whistle. By the time play is stopped my ears are ringing louder than after sitting next to a set of speakers at a Who concert. The ringing goes on for more than a few minutes.

Typically every other week or so I take a shot off the cage (cage is goalie speak for the mask). Mostly glancing blows off of a deflected shot, but probaly once a year I get popped with a shot like I did last night. After the game, many players and other bystanders asked me if I was alright after that shot... that is how I know the shot was the real deal. I answered each and every one of the concered that I'm just fine.

And that is why today I thank the goalie mask.

But... if you ask me about the remaining minutes of the game, the details are a bit fuzzy (I heard we won though).

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