The PsychicThis conversation happened about three weeks ago.
When Eli 10.6 started covering up shooters on breakaways, I was baffled. It's the one thing he's always struggled with (it's the one thing all goalies struggle with). Suddenly, though, he was glued to the shooter's dekes.
What was going on?
"So I've been meaning to ask you," I said as we drove toward practice. "On breakaways now, you look like you know where the shooter's going to go before he even knows." Eli laughed. "What changed?"
"I've gotten better at reading stick angles," he said. "But there's one other thing."
"What?" I asked.
"Skate angle," he said. "When I'm looking at the stick, I can see the skate blades, too. They have to change their blade angle before they can change direction. They can't deke with their skates."
"Where did you learn that?" I asked. Really, I was dumbfounded.
"Just watching," he said. "I study when I'm out there."
"That is AWESOME!" I said. He started laughing.
I have no idea how a 10-year-old can process that information and respond, but somehow Eli does. And it blew me away that he learned this on his own. I've kind of broken down goaltending in a geometric sense for him, but this is the first time he's shown me his own analysis.
He skated in league on Saturday night, playing as a position player for the first time since his concussion. In the first game, he played at center and had two goals. In the second, he was a defenseman and had two assists.