Rocket's Red Glare: Solving the mystery of the "weirdo" goalie syndrome
May 25, 2011 — 12:52pm
Each week commenter Rocket writes about the NHL because we always forget to do that. Here he is again. Rocket? -----
This conversation actually happened between me and the missus a few weeks ago at a local retail store:
Rockette: When we get back home remind me to wash the sheets.
Rocket: Why? So you can walk around like your sheets don’t stink?
It should come as no surprise to anyone reading that exchange or reading the various posts and comments that I have left on this blog that I used to be a goalie. It is well understood within the hockey community that goalies are – to put it euphemistically – a curious sort.
Most people accept the “goalie as weirdo” notion as an unassailable precept and leave it at that. Of course, most people are slovenly ignoramuses who lack even the basic curiosity of the world around them of a sleep-deprived gerbil. The “goalie as weirdo” hypothesis coupled with the let-the-fat-kid-play-goalie stereotype completely belies the fact that the modern netminder is a superb athlete with a quickness and agility that rivals any other athlete in any other sport. Today’s goalies are also more technically adept then ever before, with more attention than ever given to the calculus of life between the pipes.
All of which makes it even harder to explain Tim Thomas. I’ve written about Thomas before, but he deserves another discussion for two reasons. First, he makes no [redacted] sense. After he wins the Vezina Trophy this year, he will have sandwiched a truly awful, looked-like-the-end-of-his-career year between two Vezina years. He is not particularly physically imposing and he is an extremely late bloomer, having his greatest success in his mid-thirties. He looks like the slightly less heavy, slightly less bearded love child of Drew Carey and Zach Galifianakis. There is no earthly reason why he should have the success that he has, especially while today’s goaltenders have trended toward a greater level of technical precision, Thomas often finds himself as out of place as a Luddite at a steampunk convention. But then he makes miraculous saves, which gets us to the second reason why Tim Thomas deserves another post…
As soon as Thomas made this save against Steve Downie in Game 5 on Monday night I knew that the game was over and I became equally sure that the series was over. It is not enough to say that this is the best save I have ever seen. Simple language is likely incapable of truly describing how good this save was, but I would be remiss if I did not at least try.
If this save were a song it could only be properly sung by a chorus of angels. If this save were a woman I would not even bother to try to make sweet romance with it because it is so far out of my league that I doubt that she/the save can even see a mere mortal like me with those exquisite eyes.
If this save were a politician we would elect it emperor-for-life.
This save is four short years of medical school away from curing cancer.
After so many bad and abusive relationships and so much heartbreak I thought that I would be alone for the rest of my life. I thought that humankind was nothing but a cesspool of despair and ignorance and heartache. But all of that changed when I saw this save. This save taught me to love again.
The simple fact of the matter is that we should all be so lucky as to have one moment in our lives that is so magnificently transcendent of not only our own meager capabilities but of what should be humanly possible. Tim Thomas seems to have those moments with a consistent frequency.
Now, if you will excuse me, I shall take my leave. I was promised that the world was going to end last weekend and I made a lot of poor, poor choices last week. It’s going to take a lot of time, effort, money, Lysol, penicillin, shovels, therapy, hazmat suits, donuts, and lawyers to make things right. Let me begin the process by formally apologizing to the UN, the RAND Corporation, several ex-girlfriends, H. Ross Perot, the cast of My Two Dads, Stu’s family (but not Stu!), and the good people of the state of Wyoming.
Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part. Follow @randball on Twitter.