Miles Myers excused himself and ran to the dressing room bathroom. Without a second to spare he made it to the washroom just in time to vomit into the toilet. Miles knew that this was not a case of the flu. It was pregame nerves. At the exact moment that Miles ran to the bathroom Rick Miller entered the dressing room. He could hear Miles vomiting.
Rick was wearing his Maplewood Cougars hoodie. He turned towards his coach, Brad Keenan and said,
“Can I have a private talk with Miles when he comes out of the washroom? “
“Of course, Rick. Miles is very nervous about tonight’s game. I don’t think that he has much confidence in himself. Hopefully, you can settle him down,” Brad said.
Miles left the bathroom still wiping small chunks of vomit from his lips. When he saw Rick his face reddened from embarrassment. Coach Brad Keenan left the dressing room to give his two goalies some privacy. Rick and Miles both took a seat on the bench next to each other.
“I don’t want to screw up tonight, Rick. There’s so much riding on this game,” Miles said.
“Listen Miles. Coach Keenan wouldn’t have you on his team if he didn’t think you are a competent goaltender. I saw how well you played in one of our exhibition games,” Rick said putting a hand on Miles shoulder.
“Now I want you to look at me. Straight in the eyes. I know you can do this. It is within your power to play even better than you did in that exhibition game. You just need to relax and get focused. I want you to try some mental imagery for a few minutes. I want you to imagine making some key saves in tonight’s game. I need you to see yourself blocking shots from every conceivable angle. Get a clear visual picture of the whole team surrounding you and congratulating you at the end of the game,” Rick said excitedly.
He was now standing up and pacing around the dressing room.
“You are going to be a game changer in a few minutes Miles.”
“Does this visual imagery stuff really work?” Miles asked
“You bet it does. I do it before every game. Now you try.”
Miles closed his eyes and began to imagine himself making outstanding saves.
“This is going to be your night Miles. This could be a turning point in your career. After tonight’s game, the team is going to know they have an opportunity to win every time you play a game,” Rick said.
Within a few minutes the rest of the Maplewood Cougars entered the home team’s dressing room. As soon as most of the players were dressed, Coach Keenan asked two of his rookie forwards, Steve Hayes and Rod Langlois to go to the ice warm up Miles.