My daughter played between the pipes from the Age of 4 thru just recently when her “playing career ended.” We use the expression she was a special kind of stupid as she played goalie not only for hockey, but for lacrosse. Apparently, she liked people shooting objects at a rapid velocity at her head and did not have the reflect to duck! How did it start, well she saw Martin Brodeur playing for the NJ Devils at the age of about 2, and from that day forward that is what she wanted to do.
She did choose arguably the GOAT to be her idol, and such began a long journey. She was not going to have a shot for anything as her height estimate was going to be well short of 5′ and in both sports size matters. Martin Brodeur is 6″2, Darcy Kemper who won the Stanley Cup for Colorado in 2022 is 6″4, Aidan Hill who won for Vegas in 23 is 6’6″ and the 2022 Women’s Olympic Goalies all over 5’5.
This is not going to be a long story about her from Mites -> Winning a Bronze Metal at Nationals (as a 15 year old for 19U) and committing to play lacrosse in college. This is more a piece about the biggest lesson along the way. One of the things about being a goalie is that you are the last line of defense, in hockey the puck goes thru 5 others to get to you. But if you are the Goalie – you are going to get the blame no matter what. It is your only job, to stop the puck (or ball.)
You can see young goalies get upset, as well as the teammates sometimes blaming the goalie. As teams mature (kids get older) and in hockey, the more get together as a group and talk about what went wrong and who to pick up. In lacrosse (lax) you will see the goalie huddle with her defense and talk. It is interesting to see the maturity, but that is not the best lesson.
Goalies still give up goals, and even in pro games you hear announcers say “that is going to haunt them.” Well, that is the lesson, it can’t. In Marty Brodeur’s autobiography he talks about what he calls the “next shot.” His only focused on stopping the next shot and mentions “you cannot stop the puck that is already behind you.” That simple wisdom is what goalies learn, they take a sip from their water bottle and refocus and getting the next one.
And if you have not been following closely, the question is how does this relate to real life. It should be obvious.
- Stop blaming when things go wrong. Work the solution, only way to move forward (there is time for what is called retrospective later)
- Mistakes are going to happen, when someone calls you to admit one, the first thing is “do we have a plan to fix it” (notice the word We – there are hockey commercials that show that, there is no I, just we)
- In Agile, it is why we have retrospectives, we can review what went right/wrong/missing. If something goes wrong, it’s fine to identify it (Mark it as stop doing)
- Learn from what happened, don’t dwell on it.
- And you can’t just Learn, you need to work on correcting it. Perfection is a journey and, in some cases, won’t be hit.
- Build a culture where people are willing to bring mistakes and issues up, the sooner the better.
As a goalie parent watching this allowed me to bring the same team building back to my office. The key is to build the culture. My daughters playing career may be over, but the lessons hopefully will stay with her.
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This Blog is a labor of love, and was originally going to be a book. With the advent of being able to publish yourself on the web I chose this path. I will write many of these and not worry too much about grammar or spelling (I will try to come back later and fix it) but focus on content. I apologize in advance for my ADD as often topics may flip. I hope one day to turn this into a book and or a podcast, but for now it will remain a blog. AI is not used in this writing other than using the web to find information.Images without notes are created using and AI tool that allows me to reuse them.