The Quiet Goalie

Here’s a post that I’ve been meaning to post for quite some time and just now finally getting around to writing.

Why won’t you talk to me?


Goals can be a good time to grab a break.

It didn’t take long for me to figure out one thing about the entire goalie position.   Take a look at the design of a goalie helmet and you might notice that it is extremely protective.   The cage has lots of bars in front of the face to keep pucks (and butt ends of sticks) out.  A large chunk of your face is covered by the helmet, leaving only enough for basic peripheral vision.    The chin of the masks drops really low to protect one’s throat.  Oh, and a goalies mouth is almost always entirely blocked by that same chin area.

And back to the lesson learned — nobody can understand a word you say while wearing the brain bucket.  Talk all you want, but they can’t see your mouth moving and they, too, are wearing a helmet with their own ears obscured.

Worse yet, people can’t see your facial expressions, so sarcasm and joking are all but impossible!

And if only to compound this fiasco, I now wear a mouthguard .  Even though it is a good mouthguard that allows me to speak decently enough, (a chipped molar during play once and decided rec hockey wasn’t worth concussions and dental visits) it definitely adds another obfuscation layer.

But you keep ignoring me!

Of course, your D wants to talk to you (and apologize, even if it was your 5-hole that failed the team), but they sometimes take it personally when you appear to be ignoring them.   For this, I must apologize and explain.

That same head cage that keeps me from being able to effectively talk to you also hinders communication going the other way.   Unlike a player helmet, a goalie helmet typically has zero (zip, nada, zilch, nada) ear holes to let sound it.   As if that wasn’t bad enough, imaging having a drum cymbal attached to your earlobes and making a loud crashing sound every single time you move your head.  Yes, this is what a throat dangler can sound like (but believe me, having had my neck saved several dozens of times the things are worth it!).

So, chances are good that if you try to talk to me when you are outside of my field of view I won’t hear you.  If you talk to me in a normal tone of voice, I won’t hear you.   If you don’t get my attention before you start the conversation, I might not hear you.  And even if you do everything right and manage to let me see your mouth so I can add lip-reading into the mix, I will typically only get 50-75% of what you say.

In other words, expect me to spend the next attempting to parse your joke, only to be lucky enough to laugh at it by the time you next get on the ice.

Caveat:  All the above said, I can say that I do manage to hear things (good & bad) shouted at me within the vicinity of the crease.  “Good Save”,  “Hate you!”, “Thief!”, “Gotchya!”.

You must be mad at me, you turned your back!

Play stops and players are lining up for a face off.   Or a goal is scored and the ref comes and gets the puck.   Either way, I get 10-15 seconds to grab a drink of water and get a quick face wash.  I’m not mad that you lollygagged your ass on backchecking and allowed a 3 on 1 play to develop.  Seriously, I’m just hot and thirsty and need to make the most of my short break “between shifts”.  Not sure when I’ll get another one!

What did we learn today?

Conversation ensues

"That's my puck, get off of it!"

Let’s recap — I’m not mad, nor am I ignoring you.  Heck, I’m not even particularly quiet.  We just have an impediment to casual communication.   That said, more often than not, the punchy one-liners do get across and make for a fun game. So keep on chatting!

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