Here's a question for anyone who knows the answer or thinks that they do.
Recently, I have heard AV, Mike Gillis and any number of his teammates attribute Roberto Luongo's stellar play this season to him playing with confidence.
I am, at best, a mediocre golfer. I have found that I play best when I am enjoying my game and feeling confident about my swing, etc. I also know that my confidence can be shattered by one bad shot and that, inevitably, my game descends into the depths as a result.
My question is, what is it in the psyche of the professional athlete, in this instance, Roberto Luongo in particular, that enables him to overcome this phenomenon in his career?
As we near the playoffs the criticism of Luongo from media and opposing fans alike begins to mount and the knock is always the same: he can't bring it in the big games. This despite the fact that he has won the QMJHL President's Trophy twice, a silver medal at the World Junior Championships, two golds and one silver at the World Championships, a World Cup silver medal and, last but not least, Olympic Gold. Many will consider silver medals the prize for the first loser but it looks from my point of view that this is a pretty solid resume with lots and lots of success in many big games.
So what happens in Luongo's mind if the first goal he gives up in the playoffs is a stinker? Like me, does he shatter and break under the strain? If not, how does he put it behind him, regroup and carry on? Although hockey is a team sport, does he face all the pressure alone as it appears that the attention is focusing on his performance?
Canucks fans have such high hopes and expectations for this post-season. I hope that he finally puts all of the doubts to rest this year and silences the doubters once and for all. I would truly be fascinated to know what really goes on in his mind as he faces what most consider to be the biggest test of his career.