The routine started the same way it had hundreds of times before. I find a corner spot in the locker room to accommodate my behemoth of an equipment bag, and tug on my knee-high socks before slipping into my skin-tight athletic pants and shirt. The next step was stepping into my bulky goalie pants, but after that, all familiarity fell by the wayside. Instead of putting on a pair of skates and strapping on a set of pillow-like leg pads, I put my Nikes back on and pulled two giant hard-plastic pads out of the bag, which were akin to a super-sized version of your typical rollerblading shin guards. After struggling to find out where all the various straps and buckles belonged, I tossed on the chest protector, jersey, gloves and helmet and began making the walk to the tunnel.
Donning the mask was nothing new to me, I have amassed over 17 years of goaltending experience on the ice, at the youth, high school, junior and collegiate levels. But on this night the situation was something entirely different; instead of stepping onto a fresh ice sheet, I walked onto the cushy green turf at Xcel Energy Center, and instead of dealing with slap shots I had to find a way to get in front of bounce shots. A week after bringing the idea up to the Minnesota Swarm coaching staff on a whim, my pipe dream was about to come true. An hour before the Swarm were scheduled to begin their practice at The Hive, I was making my debut as a box lacrosse goaltender–an experience I wouldn’t soon forget.
Tag(s): Minnesota Swarm