You never stop learning. Honestly, the hockey mom thing wasn’t much of an adjustment. Putting on player gear was far easier than it looked. I can get a kid dressed head to toe and on the ice in five minutes. I mean, I prefer to take our time about it, but if need be, I can pull it off. Totally comfortable and absolutely adamant that I didn’t have a goalie in my herd, I happily avoided even touching goalie gear. No need to learn any goalie mom skills when you won’t ever have to put it on a kid, right?
I’ll admit it. I got cocky, guys. And then the universe (and HockeyDad) decided to throw me a curveball in the shape of my middle child. And wouldn’t you know? He took to the position like the happiest little duck to water you ever did see. As in even when they are losing 3-0 or 5-0, he’s giving me the thumbs up and is totally focused on the game. That absolutely did not happen in any other position he tried.
As a result of this discovery, I spent the back half of last season trying to navigate the goalie mom thing. Not surprising, I learned a few new things along the way. Here is the bare minimum of what you need to know as a new goalie mom. The basic goalie mom skills if you will.
Skill #1: The Gear
Y’all, goalie gear is fricking intimidating. Turns out, the helmet and shoulder pads aren’t so bad. It’s everything related to protecting those legs.
But those shin guards. They look easy. And you’ll think you have them tied properly but five minutes into the game or practice and your goalie will have a lace under his skate or almost tripping him up. And his little body will skate the stupid amount of weight over to the bench for coach to fix it for him. Then you’ll lose all credibility with your goalie and he will remind you that you aren’t so good at the shin guard thing.
Everyone’s a critic.
Skill 2: Watching The Game
Being a goalie mom takes the game to a whole new level in terms of spectating. Y’all, my anxiety goes through the roof every time Boy #2 steps foot on the ice in that gear. This HockeyMom does not sit during his games. I can’t. Try as I might to contain myself and mutter mostly under my breath, it really doesn’t work that well. I am a mess from the minute the game starts to the minute the game is done. Win, lose, or draw- it matters not.
The other difference I’ve noticed is that I see more of the game with my boy in the net. When Boy #1 plays, I watch him. I watch how he moves. I watch the plays he makes. But because so much of what happens at the net is a result of the rest of the team and how they played up to that point, I certainly watch everything just a little more closely. Being a goalie mom means the game takes on a whole new perspective when I know that on the other end of the ice is my boy facing down the opponents.
So coaches, if you’re reading this and you want a wide perspective on how your team plays, ask your goalie’s parents.
Skill 3: Skills & Tactics
When it comes to Boy #1 on defense, I know what aspects of his game to watch for and where to provide feedback.
Now that Boy #2 has decided on goalie, I’m learning a whole new set of skills and techniques to watch for. I’m learning a lot about what my goalie needs from me in the stands. What to say to him after a game. I’ve watched him win and lose and I know that both of those outcomes have different approaches depending on his performance rather than the score of the game.
The goalie position has a whole new set of nuances that I’m just learning. And most of my learning is coming from watching HockeyDad coach our goalie through a game. I might not be able to demonstrate the technique of a butterfly (I think that’s the term anyway) but I certainly can remind him of that one spectacular save 4 minutes into the third period.
Assuming I’ve been able to keep my eyes open. Sometimes the anxiety is too much.
Skill 4: Roll With The Chaos
Let me be very honest here. We had 6 weeks of the goalie thing. I am the first to admit we have only cracked the tip of the iceberg here. So come September, we’ll navigate evaluations and a new team for the first time as goalie parents. Once again, I find myself at the beginning, and there are more new goalie mom skills to be learned. I can feel it.
For those of you that have more experience than me in this, drop a comment and tell me what’s the one thing that surprised you about being a goalie parent.
See you at the rink,