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Stick 'Em In The Mind

Goaltending Is For People With A Martyr Complex

Goalies are martyrs

Goalies are martyrs

Why do people become goalies?

It’s an age old question that philosophical followers of hockey love to ponder.

In my case the reason why I became a goalie was because my eight-year-old self was a pretty horrible skater. And if I was in net I wouldn’t have to skate, right?

Young me’s arrival between the pipes was entirely pragmatic, but to stick with it for another 30 years? There’s something deeper going on in that life decision than simply not wanting to skate too much.

In psychology, a person who has a martyr complex, sometimes associated with the term victim complex, desires the feeling of being a martyr for his/her own sake, seeking out suffering or persecution because it feeds a psychological need.

In some cases, this results from the belief that the martyr has been singled out for persecution due to exceptional ability or integrity. If that doesn’t sound like the average goalie, I don’t know what does.

I know lots of goalies. And though the term “exceptional ability” doesn’t apply to all that many of them (they are my adversaries after all, objects to be defeated, not lauded), there is a genuine integrity in the position. It’s a heavy burden to be the last line of defence, to be the one who can screw up and lose, to be the one who it’s always obvious when they make a bad mistake. It takes a certain special willingness to face that challenge game in and game out.

I guess what I’m saying is you should love and respect your goalie and do everything you can for them. Because they’re willing to face pucks — and the potential shame of getting scored on — because of everyone else on the ice’s mistakes.

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