April 21, 2024
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April 21, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Did you know that more moms of goalies suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, premature hair loss, anxiety, and unexplained weight loss? (Well, except for me on the weight loss front). It is true. You can spot a goalie mom in the crowd. She is the one holding her hands together so tightly that her knuckles are white. She is the one who inhales deeply, and then forgets to exhale until the whistle blows (or she passes out, whichever comes first.) She is the one who looks at the clock every tenth of second to see when the torture is over.

This was not her choice. I cannot imagine any mom saying to her son, “Please be a goalie. Please take the position in the game that gets all the blame and all the glory. Please insist on wanting to buy the most expensive equipment and schlepping it around in a bag so big and so heavy that you need a forklift to hoist it into the trunk, and a special storage unit to keep it in during the off season.” We won’t even go into the smell of this equipment. It is bad; really and truly bad. The stench latches onto their precious hands and doesn’t come off until they take a shower. Let’s keep in mind that these are boys and that shower does not necessarily take place the minute they come home from a game or a practice. I am convinced that a goalie mom invented Febreze and those dryer sheets that you can stick into their gloves and goalie bags.

If you have a lefty goalie, you have a challenge. Most equipment is made for right-handed goalies. Son #1 and I once went to every sporting goods store in Bergen County looking for a new goalie stick. Try explaining to a minimum wage employee, five minutes before closing, why all the sticks they have on display will not work for your son. It is an exercise in futility. Of course, if the son in question had not lost his stick we would not have been in that predicament, but that is another story all together (and, for the record, his father was in charge the night the stick got lost.)

I write this piece in a nostalgic state of mind. Son #1 played the last game of his goalie career last week. Actually, played is a strong word. He was all dressed up with no goal to tend because he is the “backup” goalie. For those of you not familiar with hockey jargon, the backup goalie is like the vice president. If anything happens to the real goalie, the backup fulfills the obligations of said goalie. This season, my son had almost six whole minutes of playing time. His coach told me I should be grateful because the other “backups” didn’t get any playing time. I will not say anything else about this coach because I have two other sons that will, hopefully, but maybe not after this column, be playing under his wise guidance.

When son #1 decided he wanted to be a goalie, he was up in camp. As any goalie mom knows, this makes perfect sense. There are few things more challenging than purchasing your son goalie equipment when he isn’t in the same state. The salespeople at Modell’s knew me by name that summer, but in the end it all worked out.

He became the goalie for his elementary school team. He was (and still is) the cutest, happiest goalie ever. Always smiling (yes, he gets that from his father). The highlight of his career came in his eighth grade season. They were playing a team that had not lost a game in almost three years (I am hazy on the exact number of years because I am old and forgetful.) He shut them out. That means they could not score against my adorable little goalie (who has grown eleven inches since eighth grade.) The crowd went wild. I had never been more proud. Especially because a few weeks later, I was in a waiting room and I was eavesdropping on a conversation between a son and mom and the son was talking about the “amazing” goalie that shut out his team. True joy.

So to all you goalie moms out there, my hat is off to you as I go into retirement (as there is no NHL in my son’s future). And to my goalie, I wish you a life full of victories as you embark on the next chapter in your career.

By Banji Latkin Ganchrow

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