“The goalkeeper is the jewel in the crown and getting at him should be almost impossible. It's the biggest sin in football to make him do any work.” -- George Graham
My husband, who is a former goalie, has said before that being a goalie is like being alone on a desert island. He goes on to explain, you are the player that looks different than the others, your strategy and skills are different. Most of all when you miss a save and that ball hits the back of the net that is the play the fans gasp at. Both my son and daughter have chosen to follow in their Dad’s footsteps on the field. My son plays only goalie. My daughter still plays in the field for part of the game.
After a rather tense game this weekend I commented to my Son that being the parent of a goalie is also like being on your own desert island. He laughed and asked what I meant. I am the mom that sits a bit away from the other parents. That is often by choice. It is difficult to hear other people commenting on my son’s play. Again, I go back to when the goalie misses the save everyone is a critic! I can see the disappointment on my Son’s face. He is very passionate about the game and takes being a goalie very seriously. He carries the weight of the world on his shoulders each and every time he steps into the goal.
Soccer is a contact sport. I know that. I also know that every kid on the field can get injured. However, I believe that incidents of goalie injuries might be the highest. So with every game I hope that when my son tries with all his might to keep that ball out of his box that some stray kick will not take his teeth out. Soccer parenting 101 is very clear about your role. You are to remain on the side lines and the coach will attend to your child when he or she is injured. I abide by that rule but there are times that my momma instinct kicks in and it takes everything in my being not run out on that field. To date I have watched my son get kicked so hard in the chest that he has had trouble breathing. I have seen cleats hit his face. I have seen two players fall over him and step on his head. Each and every time he gets up and goes back into the goal. Each and every time, my heart skips a beat as I wait for the end of the game. The more competitive the play the more my stomach does flips. I do not make a scene. I am not even sure I make a sound but the other moms see it on my face.
I know that we are all in this for the long hall. So I guess I better start working on Zen meditation or something. Remember every player on that field is someone’s child. Soccer is a team sport, that ball got through all those players before it hit the goalie.