I got an e-mail from one of my favorite regulars here at the blog about dealing with athlete hookups when they are coming off injuries and shitty seasons. Here's the original e-mail:
"how do you deal with a guy who is coming off injuries and a bad season? My hockey guy is back and even though we have established we are nothing more then buddies who sleep together occasionally when we hang out he's always super uptight, stressed out and hates it when people bring up hockey. Whats the best way to deal with this? Do I just keep things super light and relaxed when we are together, what should I do if he tries to talk to me about it? Normally serious talk is reserved for the girlfriends...This is a new area for me.."
I have dealt with bad seasons and injuries before, but I think (going to drag through my memory while I write) only ever with guys I was involved with more seriously.
With my former baseballer, his career was a constant topic. Mores o on my end, because I was always trying to figure out his ETA to the bigs. That dream bit the dust just like many of his sliders. Bad line. Anyway, his injury report and his season in Low A ball made life hard. He was pissy ALL the time. And on top of the 4 billion other problems he and i had, it made it hard. What made it harder was this shit would put him in a bad mood, and he'd be a bitch about it, but he wouldn't really talk about it because he hated talking baseball with me. So a lot of things were left unsaid, and while I'm not exactly an athletic trainer, I sat through enough games to know what the fuck was up. I often wish he had come to me more in an honest way, as opposed to a defensive "you don't get it so shut the fuck up talking about it" way. Ahhh baseball, good times.
What was a bit easier was my ex laxer, 'Heath'. If you read the book, you know Heath had some uh......body....situations. Nah, Heath was coming off a VERY rough emotional year, he porked on some weight and his first year back on the lacrosse field was a little rough. He wanted to be as good as everyone had expected him to be prior to his whole situation. He really worked so hard for his team, but the weight was there and it became a massive problem for him on and off the field. Emotionally, he felt shitty. Physically, he felt shitty, particularly because his weight caused the need for knee surgery. But what was different with Heath, was Heath was open to talking about it. He was sad, he was upset, and he wanted to fix whatever wasn't working and get back on track. And he was totally open about it with me, which was good for me because I felt like even though I don't get the plight of the fat kid, I loved him enough at the time to try to understand it to a point where I could be a support system for him. I listened to him like, recite what he had to eat every day, and I still slept with him even after he bought one of those ridiculous sweatsuits made out of plastic and actually went out in public in it. He was much easier to support and like....be there for because he was open to talking about it and dealing with it. And I mean, I look back and laugh at it now - the fact that he once had a chocolate milkshake explode all over him in total fat kid glory, for instance - but at the time, it was rough for him. He loved lacrosse and he wanted to be good, and the fact that he just wasn't getting it done at that point was hurting him. In my opinion, athletes need to vent about this shit to someone they know won't go tell the other guys on the team or in the locker room. Guys don't want to look weak in front of teammates. It's good to be an outlet for them.
As for this specific case, it's tough because a.) you're not dating, and b.) he's apparently like, not open to chatting about the fact that hockey is giving him some grief right now. It sounds like you kind of want to be there for him, but don't know how since he's not willing to open up about the hockey sitch, and clearly if he's in a shit mood on the reg, that's probably the reason. What it might be is a case of he doesn't want to think about his inability to get it together when he's with you, or when you guys are banging. So the reason he might not be keen on bringing it up is because he doesn't want to focus on the fact that he had a shitty season, couldn't pull it together, couldn't perform to the level he was expected. Who the fuck would want to think about that shit right before you bang, you know? It could lead to feeling inadequate in other areas of life, including sex. He might be using you (not in that way, don't take it the wrong way) to kind of get away from feeling inadequate about hockey.
My advice? Treat him like a friend. If he opens up to you, hear him out. If he chooses not to, don't be offended though. You're right - sometimes that serious confiding shit is reserved for the GF's, which you aren't. He will probably be in a shit mood, and that's his deal, not yours. You're his buddy, like you said, so be open to the possibility of him eventually opening up, but also keep in mind your roll in his life. Are you guys like, best buds? I have a best bud who played lacrosse when I was at Maryland. We hooked up a lot and did everything together, but we never dated. But we were close enough to really talk to each other about like, lame shit like feelings and emotions, even though we'd bang and drunkenly make out in his lofted bunk bed (god i miss college, and I CANT wait to see him this weekend ha). Do you have that relationship with your hockey dude? Or are you guys a grab drinks when you're at the bar, get a little shwasted, have some laughs and go bang kind of thing? If that's the case, you have to recognize your place in his life and draw some lines for yourself. If you want to be his girlfriend, if you've been like, jockeying for this position, this might be a good time to make a move toward figuring out of that next step is an option. But if you are simply just interested in having fun sex and good laughs with him a la Dan Casey and me, there's not much you can do about this one chickie other than ride out the bad moods and be open to the talk if it comes up. Which, by the sounds of it, doesn't sound like it will. There are many, many, many awesome perks to banging around with athletes, but dealing with the back story of their careers is not one of them, particularly if you're looking for a fun all the time, no commitment situation. Unfortunately, sometimes emotions come into play, and it's regarding shit that has nothing to do with you.
My advice would be if the sex is good and the friendship is decent, stick it out and just kind of coast for a bit. Enjoy the sex, don't put too much dependency on it though because his bad moods might lead to bad sex and a lack there of. Take it for what it's worth and wait it out. Bad seasons don't last forever, nor do injuries. Keep it light and relaxed and make him feel like there's no pressure to even so much as think about hockey when he's with you. You're banging a hockey player, but the hockey part doesn't have to be omnipresent.