Before I start, I feel that I must bow to a dominant internet meme.
Now that that’s out of the way….
They say that goals are important.
‘They‘ can be in Columbia (or want you to think that they are), ‘they‘ can be associated with a cheating athlete, ‘they‘ can have an annoying website, but google says that ‘they’ are two hundred thirty-six million strong. Who can argue with that?
Well, me for one, but for the sake of argument let’s assume that I’m not going to.
Goals are important. Just less important than avoiding injury and the tossage of one’s cookies. Because one does have to prioritize.
Those are the only things on my list-o-priorities (the list was originally composed for hockey but I’m constantly surprised how applicable it is in other contexts) that I’ve actually ranked but there are other things on that list. Things like “don’t start too many fights” — not usually a problem but it has happened. Things like “don’t embarrass yourself too much” — that one’s probably number three. Things like “try not to suck” — it depresses me sometimes that I have that on the list at all.
And things like “score a goal.” Because goals are important.
I am not a scoring machine. Despite this I like to score a goal once in a while. Given my skill level and my desire to set goals that are attainable, I mentally try to score one a year (calendar year, not ‘season’). With the amount that I play that amounts to about one goal for every six dozen games. Or so.
Two days ago was Monday, and Monday means (besides blood-soaked forays into the subway) hockey. (I mean, for a while Tuesday was Monday but we’re back to Monday being Monday, I think because school is out but I’m not sure. Whatever the reason, some things are just Meant To Be.)
On about my fifth shift I was playing right wing and we broke out of our own zone; a defenceman who teaches high school, raises sheep and wears a personalized sweater passed the puck to an adjunct professor who carried it past the red line and passed it behind ‘my’ opposing defenceman. I beat him to it and drove for the net (‘drove’ might be too strong a verb) where their other defenceman was trying, without much success, to neutralize a Famous Canadian Writer who was trying to make himself a nuisance on the far post. I skated behind the net and, as the goalie tried to cover the space, tried to sneak the puck past the FCW and between the goalie (not the historian, the other one) and the post.
It deflected off the goalie’s leg and went in. Goal for the white team! Trouble is, I had no idea who scored it. Did it go off the defenceman? Did the FCW get his stick on it and redirect it? If so, it’s his goal. If not, though, it was my goal and my quota for the year has been met and here it is only July. I mentally gave it to him and skated to the bench for a rest.
The rest of the game passed without incident. I had a couple of good shifts (one decent assist) and a couple of bad ones (the less said the better). After the game, after I changed and showered, after I didn’t offend any nice Muslim women, I walked toward the atrium (and why the hell does an arena need an atrium?) where my passenger was waiting for me. On the way a complete stranger stopped me in the hallway. Did he want to ask who was left in the locker room? Did he want to make an architectural critique? Did he want to tell me my shoe was untied?
None of the above, actually. He said “Nice goal”, clapped me on the back and walked on.
I had two thoughts. The first one was “That’s never happened to me before. It’s kinda weird.” The second one was “Guess the pressure’s off for at least six more months.”