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06-17-2006, 04:47 PM
Stinkin' Root Beer
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: NJ
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Scenario - The Tale of the Disappearing Game

Here's my story, and I'm wondering what others would have done in my position...

My college's club team (ACHA D-III) is pretty good for what we are (small VA university with less than 3,000 enrolled). By the end of my junior year, we were twice consecutive league champions, had gotten the 16th out of 16 bids to nationals two years in a row (even though we went 0-8 at nats both years combined ), and I had becmoe the starting goaltender and earned some pretty decent individual accolades (tournament mvp, 2nd team all-league all-star) having established myself as a reliable backstop and team leader after committing myself to rigorous off-ice conditioning. The summer before my senior year, I had to get shoulder surgery, keeping me mostly immobilized that whole summer as I found working out in any form difficult with a shoulder that was still quite stiff and sore (I was in physical therapy from the middle of June until December).

When I came back, I did what I could to re-gain what I had lost in terms of conditioning and getting my game back, but by the beginning of the season, I found I just couldn't get myself pumped for games anymore, and my performance, even once I felt comfortable on the ice again, was weak by all accounts. As the season got going, I found I wasn't improving, and I was prone to giving up at least two weak goals a game, often more than that, and I just couldn't figure myself out. It got to the point where it was downright humiliating, as we were losing to teams we shouldn't have lost to and getting blown out by teams we should have been competitive with. At one point, in a weekend where we played two good teams, I approach coach and told him myself that he should start the freshman backup. When he announced the lineup, a lot of the guys approached me and asked what the hell coach was doing, thinking coach was slighting me for some reason.

Our locker room has a strong team philosophy, and by the end of December, I was contemplating leaving the team on the grounds that the team would benefit more from not having me around anymore. My parents responded by saying that it would be terrible for team morale and an act of disrespect to coach and everything he does for the team if I left in the middle of my senior year. I argued, though, that it's worse for team morale if their senior goalie, who should be relied upon to consistently keep the team in the game, has all but completely lost his game and shows no signs of coming out of it. With the freshman backup in net, at least they would know what to expect. I stayed around, only because the guilt of the whole disrespecting coach argument kept me there. I suffered through the rest of the season, still playing horrendously, but luckily we had a potent offense and we ended up finishing second in the season and winning the playoff tournament, but we missed nat'ls by a long shot, which I take responsibility for. In what I saw as sort of a pity gesture, when asked for his choice of MVP of the 6-team playoff tournament, coach picked me, and I ended up with the award. Not a bad way to go out, but if I could go back, I would elect not to have played at all my senior year because of how humiliating and stressful the whole ordeal was. In assessing myself, if it was a pro team, I would have been placed on waivers and gone unclaimed and def not re-signed once the contract expired. If an NCAA college program, no doubt I would have had my scholarship taken away and possibly been cut from the team altogether.

I was just wondering what other folks' take on the situation would be. Essentially, which choice would have been less demoralizing for the team, and was it worth sticking around?

For the record, I've hung up the pads indefinitely but may take up playing as a forward in the future just for fun - as a goaltender, if I may say so myself, I was one of the better skaters and stickhandlers on the team, and that's not a knock against the boys at all.

Last edited by Stinkin' Root Beer; 06-18-2006 at 03:43 PM.. Reason: More paragraphs = more readable
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