Updated: Oct 10, 2021
I want to start by saying TED LASSO.
Basically Ted Lasso is a show about a guy named Ted Lasso who is an American hired to coach British Football (American soccer) in England despite having no idea anything about soccer. It's on Apple TV + which you get free with the purchase of any apple product (thank you apple watch) and it is the best show ever.
I'm going to put in some GIFs now:
Yes, I am in love with Roy Kent. And Ted. And everyone.
But good news if you came here for Shidduchim content: Ted Lasso has me thinking about soccer. When I played soccer in fourth grade I was the goalie because of my singular goal of not letting the ball hit my face exhibiting itself in me actually being semi decent in kicking the ball away.
The point of a goalie is to stop the ball from getting in the goal. They are the last line of defense. They are not supposed to let anything through.
In shidduchim you need a goalie, but a goalie who lets some balls through. So a bad goalie. Or someone who is really good at Fruit Ninja-only swipe the good fruits! Swipe 3 in a row for a triple score!
The point of this goalie in the shidduchim world is to stop you from having to date everyone. Most long term daters will receive plenty of resumes during their dating careers and not every one should be considered as a potential mate. It's up to the goalie to decide which go through and which don't. The goalie decides using things like age, status, hashkafa, career, looks, lack of looks, devotion to G-D, information from references, information from the people the goalie knows who kind of know the guy, what the guy wrote on the resume, what the shadchan thinks of the guy, what Google says about the guy and more.
You can be your own goalie of course. For me, that sounds exhausting. I don't want to have to make call after call on my own behalf. I don't want to be stuck trying to sell myself. When I "sell myself" in job interviews it makes sense. I am selling my experience, knowledge, and talents. But selling myself for a potential date is so much deeper than that. I want them to know that I am awesome, but also that I am trash. IT'S A BALANCE.
So I can't play goalie for myself.
Many people choose their parents to be their goalies. If this works for you, great. When I needed to choose a goalie I considered asking a parent.
I want to stress here that my parents are wonderful and definitely offered to be the goalie.
But I want my parents to be my parents until one or all of us die from climate change related incidents. I don't want to sour the relationship with blame from me towards them whenever I go on a bad date. I don't want them to have expectations of me. I want them to be my support but not my goalie. Goalies need to be quick on their feet and catch things that fly through the air. I want my parents as a wall behind me where I can rest when the load gets too heavy on my feet.
So my parents were out.
But Hashem blessed me with a dear friend. A friend of mine who has a daughter my age who was also in shidduchim (for a year. Then she got married. So happy for her yay.) A friend who understands what people are saying under what people are saying.
And she protects me from having to deal with every resume that crosses my path. She helps me figure out which dates are worth my time.
Is she wrong sometimes? Of course. As a former goalie I can tell you that the cardinal rule of soccer is that you never blame the goalie. The goalie is the last line of defense and if they can't make the save it's defenses problem for letting the ball enter their zone. And offenses fault for not having the ball across the line entirely. So I don't blame her for being wrong.
She also makes the calls, begging people to think of what boys they know and who could be appropriate for me. It can be demoralizing and exhausting to make those calls for yourself. It can be demoralizing and exhausting to see your mother and father exhausted by those calls. So my goalie makes my calls. I guess that's like when the goalie kicks the ball so hard it makes it across the line. She's bringing me closer to the other team's goal-which is where I want to be.
I know that my emotional health has remained intact (barely) (maybe hanging by a thread sometimes but it's there) because I have a goalie and I'm not getting pelted by balls all day.
I highly advise anyone out there to get themselves a goalie. Like actual soccer goalies they need to be emotionally aware enough to know that any balls that get through aren't their fault-but to still try to go for the saves anyway. You want to look for someone:
Whose emotional health is not at all tied to you getting married
Sensitive to your emotional needs
Tied to Hashem
You may think this is not possible. Look around your community. There are people who can help you and you can open yourself up to being helped.
I also want to shout out to my community here-people are constantly offering to help me. Sometimes I take them up on that offer and sometimes I don't. You want a goalie who gets you which not everyone can. In sports things they teach the sports people to recognize when certain kicks are coming, when certain pitches are being thrown. You want a goalie who knows your kicks.
I would not still be dating without my goalie. I don't know if I would still be religious without my goalie. Sometimes I wonder if I would be alive without my goalie.
And since she is in the goal I can play offense and work on getting closer and closer to that goal.