When our kids are little, what they should and shouldn’t do is obvious. Do eat vegetables, do not put a fork in an electrical socket, do practice piano, don’t punch your brother, the list goes on. But I’m learning the older they get the lines are becoming more blurred. My 8 year old wants to play goal tender. He has had a few opportunities to try it and says he loves it. He’s had a few good games and honestly did a great job. He blocked some great shots and did a nice job paying attention during the lulls. I can tell he really enjoys the glory that comes with it too. The end of the game where all the kids pile on and give him hugs and leading the pack down the “good game” handshake line.
However, I would rather he didn’t. Is it dangerous? Waiting for high speed pucks to fly at him from all angles – yes, probably a little. But considering the mountains of padding that make up goalie gear, it’s not exactly fork-in-socket dangerous. He is very sensitive and takes things personally. He puts a lot of pressure on himself and wants to do everything well. My fear is the focus on this key position could cause him emotional distress. What happens when the team isn’t winning and it’s up to him to make sure the other team doesn’t score? What if he’s off his game and there’s negative focus? How would he handle that? I also know that he won’t get as much exercise in the net as he would in a skating position. Goalie gear is also uber expensive but that is the least of my concerns.
It would be easy to discourage him from playing goalie or to make the parental decision and just say no. But some things need to be learned for yourself. It’s a hard lesson but one he needs to find out on his own. This is a tough exercise for a parent as well. How will I handle teenage years when he has friends I don’t like or wants to pursue a major I don’t approve of in college? What if he brings a girl home I find annoying and repulsive? He’s turning into his own person and I know I need to give him the opportunity to explore (and possibly fail) on his own. This week he has been talking to his friends about goalie in the locker room and is pretty stoked about the potential of playing as goalie. My husband and I will continue to have some real conversations with him but in my opinion he needs the room to be him.
Who knows, maybe if I give him this one he’ll only bring home smart, pretty, funny, appreciative girls who think I’m awesome. 🙂 Hey, a mom can hope right?