A long time ago inside a local ice rink, 15 year olds went to battle to win a game of hockey. They played for themselves, for their teams, for their coaches, for their towns, and for their families. It was a 0-0 tie in the 2nd period. Both goalies were outstanding. But one appeared to be somewhere else. Thinking. The shot came. The antagonist wasn’t aiming to break the scoreless tie. He was living up to his agreement with the other team’s coach. A coach who wanted his son to be the team's goalie. He didn’t want a new goalie that could take his team where they have never been. The playoffs. A goalie that could secure his team at the top. The coach watched the shot he bought. The goalie could have shifted, dodged out of the way, but he was paralyzed. He dropped to the ice when the puck struck his unprotected neck. The player skated over to examine the goalie. He had accomplished his task. And with the money he earned, he can buy the bicycle he always wanted. The goalie’s father was standing amongst the other parents. He was enraged that his son didn’t make the save. He felt the hard work he put into his boy slowly fade, and quickly die out. He knew how good his son was, and would be. He knew the puck struck because the goalie let it. He did not know why. I groaned as the puck hit me in the arm. I had pads, but pads can only soften the blow. I squeezed my arm. My father stood and watched. My friend fired another shot that whacked me in the throat, knocking me down. I felt dizzy. It was frigid on the pond in winter. This is where I learned to play hockey. This is also where I learned it was painful to be a goaltender. I got up slowly, glowering at him. My friend was perplexed at my tenacity. “This time, stay down!” And then he took the hardest slap shot I have ever encountered. The puck tore through the icy air at incredible speed right into my face. My glove rapidly came up and snatched it right before it would shatter my jaw. I took my glove off and reached for the puck inside. I swung my arm and pitched it as fiercely as I could at my friend. Next time we play, I should wear my mask and he should wear a little more cover than a hat. I turned towards my father. He was smiling. That was rare. I was relieved to know that I was getting better and he knew it. The ice cracked open and I dropped through… The goalie was alone at the hospital. He got up and opened the curtains the nurse keeps closing at night so he could see through the clear wall. He eyed out the window and there was nothing interesting except a lonely little tree. He noticed the way the moonlight shined off the grass and radiated everything else. But not the tree. The tree was as colourless as the sky. But the sky had lots of bright little glowing stars. What did the tree have? He went back to his bed and dozed off before he could answer his own question. Nobody came to visit him at the hospital but his mother. His father was at home and upset that his son is no longer on the team. The goalie spot was seized by the team’s original goalie, the coach’s son. The goalie’s entire life had been hockey. He played every day as his father observed. He really wanted a regular father, whatever that was. A father that cares about him and not about hockey. The goalie did like hockey, but it was a game. A sport just like other sports, only there’s an ice surface to play on. But he did not love hockey. It was just something he became very good at, with plenty of practice and bruises. He was silent in his new team’s locker room, so he didn’t assume anyone would come and see how he was doing.