Half the battle

Just keeping my spirits up and my confidence high is half the battle.  So far in net, I have only won 2 games out of my last 17 or so.  Tonight was no exception as my Bulldogs team lost 6-3.  We scored our first goal when we were down by 6, so the game was well over by then.  Overall, I was pleased with my performance.  I gave up only one goal that was totally rotten, but all the other goals they got were good ones.  One was a nice 2 on 1, pass across to a wide open forward who buried it.  Another was a deflection off my own defenseman and in.  We got burned on a couple giveaways in our own zone.  It is the little things that add up in a game like that.

Afterwards, our captain said that our confidence is low before we even go out there.  I have to agree with that assessment.  Just seems like we were flat until there was nothing left to play for.

I am just going to keep on working.  I have a lot of games left to play, and to consider this season a scrapped one is a little premature.  I have to just go out there and prove to myself that I can keep getting better.  Cherish the wins as they come, but shrug off the losses.  Keep my spirits high.

No room for error

Played twice yesterday, and lost twice.  The story of my season so far.  I am learning to roll with the punches though for all intensive purposes.

The first game we lost 6-4, and the other team had good quality deflections and chances.  I played right about average, and that isn’t going to win many games.  I was not as upset about this game as I was about the second game I lost 5-1.  I let in a real bad goal from center ice to start off the period and I never really recovered.  There was a bank in off my leg from behind the net goal and a bad breakaway decision I made.  I came out too far to take the breakaway away, but he easily stickhandled around me and put it in the net.  I should have sprawled out and took away the whole bottom of the net and made him fall over me.  Oh well….mistakes I learned from, and with all the good games despite my record, I knew I was up for a poor showing.

Got an advanced league game tonight, and then I skate out tomorrow.  Looking forward to playing.

First win of the new session

It wasn’t easy, but it was a win.  Something my Bulldogs team needed after starting 0-2.  Now, we have something to build on, and next week will be a tough game.  Right now, I am just happy with the win.  I hope my hard times are behind me.  The captain of my team said something after the game that I have to agree with.  Baby steps.  I told him I would be happy when I reached .500 again.  You have to take it one game at a time.  This hole I am in isn’t my fault entirely.  I have to have realistic expectations.  Looking at what I have ahead of me, taking it one game at a time is the way to go.

I have a few more games this week to play, including one fill in game tomorrow.  I now want to turn Village Bike Shop around and get them a good win tomorrow.  So many things I want….  🙂

The olympics are always fun to watch, but I can’t wait for the next season of TV to start up.  I guess I miss new episodes of CSI, The Shield, and so on.  I am almost finished watching The Shield Season 2 on DVD and it is awesome.  I can’t wait to watch Season 3 again.  Nip/Tuck and Rescue Me on FX are great shows and will keep me happy until the next season of TV starts up.

I am starting to notice some slight aches and pains in certain parts of my body.  My left ankle is a little sore for starters and my neck is stiff.  I am starting to think that playing as much as I am isn’t good for me in the long run.  As much as I want to succeed, win, and accomplish my goals….my body is trying to tell me something.  That still isn’t going to stop me though…well….short of my body breaking down.  I think about that every now and then.  Especially since I haven’t been out with an injury for longer than a few days.

Beck – The Golden Age
I heard this song in the movie trailer “Friday Night Lights” and I had to hear it again.  It has a nice relaxing beat and if you hear the lyrics, it really speaks volumes…

Put your hands on the wheel
Let the golden age begin
Let the window down
Feel the moonlight on your skin
Let the desert wind
Cool your aching head
Let the weight of the world
Drift away instead

These days I barely get by
I don’t even try

It’s a treacherous road
With a desolated view
There’s distant lights
But here they’re far and few
And the sun don’t shine
Even when its day
You gotta drive all night
Just to feel like you’re ok

These days I barely get by
I don’t even try

Thoughts on hockey, the olympics, and other general things

Well, my goalie story hasn’t changed at all.  I have played or taken part in 11 games.  In that time, I have lost every game.  It doesn’t matter what game I seem to play, I have come up with the short end of the stick.  Sure, a couple games have been close, and a majority of the games I have lost we lost for a reason.  It was because we didn’t have the players, like 5-6 guys for a full game in 3 of those games.  In other instances, we didn’t have the skill.  Everyone I have talked to has said I have played very well considering the circumstances.  While I have to agree with them, I want to shake this losing off my back.

Meanwhile, I continue to do ok when I skate out.  I didn’t get any goals on Thursday night, and I played like someone who only skates out 1 time a week.  I should have put my ass in front of the net like I did last time.  I scored 2 times doing that, and you would have thought I would have done that again.  Instead, I tried something different.  The score of the game was 8-7 in OT and we came out on top.  It wasn’t as wide open as the score would point to.  They had a lot of good deflections.  So, I have a series of teams at 0-2 right now, and the team I am not goaltending for is 2-0.  Who would have thought that?

Earlier in the season, I was considering a break from the game.  Instead, I am going to go after some teams I have always wanted to play on.  I want to play with my friends once again.  Thats not to say I am playing with strangers this session.  However, I know there are people out there now that I haven’t played with in years.  I don’t know if they will be on teams with no goalie, but I am eager to go that route.

In short, I am too young to think of taking a break.  If I walked away from the game now because of some petty past team or personal problems, that wouldn’t accomplish anything.  It is time to sack up and play some hockey.  The more I play the better.  If I don’t find myself in the winners circle this session, I will again down the road.  It always seems to come around that way.

Speaking of winning, the US is cleaning up on medals in the olympics.  I have been watching off and on for a while now, in between hockey of course.  I really like watching the awards ceremonies the most and seeing the competitors after it is all over.  Some of them shed tears, others stand and smile.  I was never the athletic type in middle or high school.  Sure, I could run cross country, but I was never the varsity competitor.  It wasn’t until I got a real job and could afford the equipment….then I got into hockey.  I look back on how I got to be a fan of hockey and I laugh to myself.  BTW, for those of you who don’t know the story, I was never a hockey fan.  I never even watched a game on TV.  My girlfriend (future wife) won tickets to see our college team play all season.  She gave them to me, and I intended to sell them.  Instead, I went to a game, and got hooked.  Ever since then, it has been a priority of mine.  Watching it went to photographing it.  That led to me writing about it.  Finally, I play it.  Whats next I wonder….

Well, time for bed.  Got a big day tomorrow.

0-6 start in net. Considering a break….

It isn’t my worst start ever, but it is a pretty poor one.  I have a 0-2 start on 2 teams, and an 0-1 start on the other two so far this season.  Not a good one, but not entirely my fault as well.  Last session, I was someone who was depended upon to make a key stop or two during the game.  Now, I am depended upon to steal a game.  I guess I am not built for that kind of goaltending.

Shortly before the game today, I had a thought that after this season, I will stop playing entirely for a while.  Not because of the record so far this season.  Mainly because I am tired of the team politics that come with playing.  The people that I grew and got used to playing with are no longer my teammates.  Those people I know have friends who are better goalies than I am.  Maybe a break is needed.  How long of a break is unknown at this point.  I am going to think more about it in the coming weeks and see what transpires when I talk to a couple friends of mine.

A fresh perspective

I thought about that game I played last night and after a good nights sleep, I feel much better about things. I didn’t play a flawless game by any stretch of imagination. However, I did play well enough to keep my team in the game. I wouldn’t have to say the other goalie wasn’t tested much, but by far I faced more quality chances that he did. I faced a lot more point blank shots and it could have been a lot worse if I played a truely poor game.

This morning, I still have this bad feeling inside me that I haven’t been able to shake. Maybe it is because the Stick Heads are successful without me in net, and after the way I was treated, I wanted to see them struggle. The fact of the matter is that all you need is a capable goalie in front of a good team to be competitive. They have that goalie, and the team is upgraded from what it was last season.

I am going to have to shake this really bad feeling out of my system before my game tonight at 6. It is still eating me alive and if I go into this next game feeling like I am now, I am going to be due another loss. That is the funny thing about playing goal. So much of it is mental. I have been playing with the knowledge that I am going to stop every puck in every game. If I get beat, I move on. I don’t feel like that right now. Right now I feel a lot more human, and that is a bad thing.

Rebounding from this experience is going to help me in the future.

One last word

I guess the problem that I have is the fact that I played so much better last season.  My teams all played great in front of me for the most part.  I went undefeated with one team, and that was a first for me.  Allowing a very low 22 goals in 10 games was just incredible.  Now, this season so far, I haven’t even come close to form.  Course, I am only as good as the teams in front of me.  The Bulldogs are going through some growing pains, but my inability to stop the puck effectivly isn’t helping.  Ground Zero ran out of gas last week, and we will see how they rebound from that this week.  Village Bike Shop got dominated last week, and we will see what happens this week.

I was hoping to make a strong run into the playoffs with at least 2 of these teams.  Now, I just don’t know what to expect.

I am just fustrated at the way things are going down.  I have to find a way to boost my confidence back up to where it has been for the better part of a half year.  I guess getting booted by the Stick Heads did more damage than I want to let on.  The shameful part is if they asked me back after this session, I would be tempted.  Even after how crappy they treated me.  That makes me sick when I think about it.  It angers me either way.

I admit, it is a shitty thing to happen.  It is time to move on and stop thinking about it.  It is time to start focusing on these games.  Moreover, it is time to stop being so critical.  The Bulldogs and the rest of my teams will do as well as the people they have on them.  If this isn’t my time to shine, then I will go at it again next session.

Tough loss

It was probably one of the games I wanted most this season, but I didn’t get it.  My old Stick Heads team took advantage of their opportunities as my Bulldogs team fell 5-4.  It was a good all around game, just a hard loss.  I think I took it harder than the rest of the team did.  Mainly because I had history with the Stick Heads, and a lot of it.

Things to improve on…
Oh where to start…

First, the Stick Heads burned me on two great top corner shots.  I went down WAY too early….the story of my life.  I was working on standing up to those shots, but I didn’t do that today.  I didn’t play a bad game, just not good enough to win.  That has been the story so far this season.  When I am on my game, my team is seriously outgunned and we lose huge.  When I make those little mistakes, it hurts my team in key situations.

My confidence bottomed out on the way out of the rink today.  On the way home it started to inch back up a little.  I still have this really bad feeling in the pit of my stomach that is very hard to describe.  I wouldn’t have to say it is hatred.  It is more like that feeling when you know it is going to be a long season.

So far, the teams I goaltend on are a combined 0-4.  I thought my Bulldogs would go 6-4, and so far we are 0-2.  There is a lot of work that needs to be done.  I thought my Bronze team would get worked, and now I am hopeful when I see some of the new people we are bringing in.  As for my Aluminum team, I thought we might make playoffs.  After our first game, I don’t know what to think.  Whatever happened to the joy of playing just to have fun?  Thats a good question.

Its not everyday that this happens.

I have skated out one session or another for a little while now.  To be honest, I haven’t logged many games.  Last session for instance, I notched one goal in 10 games.  Today, I got 2 goals.  Well, I stole them more or less.  One shot went off my body and into the net.  Another shot I tipped just barely and it trickled in.  Two deflections.  I really didn’t have any shots to be honest.  I don’t think you can count a deflection as a shot…or can you?  I call it dumb luck myself, but it works.  My beginner team skated to a 8-4 win and I am pretty happy with the makeup of this team.  Last season, we made playoffs.  I don’t know how well we will do, but we are off to a good start.

Work has been kicking my ass lately.  I have been working on deploying everything from service packs to other product updates and I am getting real good at it.  The challenge is there are 4 different facilities and roaming users.  We could run the installs from all the plants, but then if a user who usually works at plant A goes to plant B, then those updates are traveling across the T1 wire.  NOT good because it slows EVERYTHING down at that facility.  Anyway, I came up with a plan and so far it seems to be working.

Now, after 4 hard fought games, I get a weekend off.  I need it.

0-3

My record so far this season is nothing to rave about that is for sure. Course, I am at the mercy of the teams I am on. I played a decent game with Village Bike Shop in my first with them against a high powered offense in So What. They torched me for a goal real fast and I held them to a 2-0 lead at the end of one. We just didn’t have the horses to keep up with that team and it ended up being 7-1 at the end.

Last night, I had a solid game going in Bronze. My team led 6-2 at one point, but with only 2 subs the whole game, they were dead physically at the middle part of the game. I thought I played an awesome game, and I stopped a lot of shots. I still didn’t get the win as the other team rattled of 7 straight goals to win the game. Our defense just collapsed.

I realize I am at the mercy of my team’s defense and these losses so far are not a reflection upon me. I just need to keep playing well. If I can turn in an effort like I did in intermediate/advanced last night, I am going to be good to go.