Bumps, bruises and bodies that ache all over are all in a day’s work for a lacrosse goalie. A lacrosse goalie doesn’t have the benefit of thickly padded protection from injury like other sports. The lack of protection stems from tradition and a means of demonstrating fearlessness, which makes the position of goalie one of the toughest jobs in sports.
A goalie needs speed and lightning fast reflexes. An episode of ESPN’s Sports Science Show examined a variety of elements associated with lacrosse shots and found that the majority of shots toward the net come from just 30 feet away and that goalies have .19 seconds to react to the shot and decide how they’ll respond.
It also calls for mental fortitude. Few people would willingly place themselves as a target in front of a hard rubber ball that’s traveling at speeds of up to 90 mph. Yet lacrosse goalies do so all the time. While they don’t enjoy the pain, tenderness, and multi-colored bruises, they love the game so much they’re literally willing to take one for the team.
There’s a belief that lacrosse goalies aren’t made, they’re born. They understand that it’s an inevitable fact that the other team will score, but they have a certain something that some call an “edge,” that allows them to remain cool under pressure. They accept the abuse of the ball willingly and transform the pain and even anger, into a positive attribute.
Goalies tend to be balanced and controlled individuals, but they also feel any loss keenly. The goalie is the last line of defense on the field, they take their jobs very seriously, and they have no team dynamic to rely upon should they be having a less than optimal day. It’s traditional for teams to run for their goalie at the end of a game – a fitting finale and a tribute to a fierce and fearless lacrosse goalie whether it’s a win or a loss.