Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Jersey Numbers Over the Years

I feel like I did this topic, and rather recently, but I couldn't find such a post in my archives so here we are.

Numbers are fairly important to athletes.  I have yet to meet someone that didn't care about what number they received from varsity High School Sports to the rec-est of rec. leagues.  I'm no different, and though I've had many numbers over the years, I've always tried to find some pride in wearing that number.

I actually don't remember what number I wore when I was five, got my first jersey, and started playing little league baseball.  Pretty sure it was a single digit as I was small, and the lower numbers tended to be the smaller shirt sizes.  For some reason either #3 or #4 come to mind.

After that I typically tried to get #16 because Joe Montana was my favorite player, but I was often regulated to the single digits, again because I was small.  I did secure #16 a few times, but for the most part I managed to snag #8 (for Cal Ripken jr. and Steve Young) or #3 (for no one in particular).  One year I had #4 which pretty well sucked because let's be honest, no one good has ever worn #4.  The #3 sat pretty well with me, being prone to obsessive-compulsive tendencies.  Eventually I reasoned that since #3 was good that three #3s must be even better so #9 became my lucky number of choice.  Once I gained a bit of height and girth, #9 started to fit me pretty well so I had that several years in a row from around age thirteen to age eighteen.

The one year I played varsity baseball, #9 wasn't available, so the coach (a superstitious man who understood how numbers worked) therefore assigned me #3.  I took another deviation from the norm my last year of little league, taking #7 because that's what my then-girlfriend wore.  It was a good number, #7 is fairly lucky and odd numbers are so much better than those evil evens (with some exceptions).

It was a few years before I'd again have reason to wear a number as our intramural football team decided to buy a bunch of t-shirts in bulk to use as jerseys.  Since I knew I'd likely see time both as a quarterback and wide receiver, I picked a number that was appropriate for both, and as a sports fan, highly appropriate in Buffalo lore, #11.

A year later I started playing inline hockey for the first time.  The choices for numbers are pretty slim as each 8-10 man team simply gets jerseys with numbers 1-10.  When I started, my favorite player was Jaroslav Spacek, so I took his #6 and it has stuck with me since.  Nowadays, with Spacek gone, I like to think of it as half Thomas Vanek, half Patrick Kaleta, which is the best approximation for how I play (combining Vanek's calm and ability to get into a good shooting position with Kaleta's simple hustle game and lack of a shot).

I'm not sure what number I'd choose if given the ability to pick from #1 to #99.  I'm happy with #6, but there are a few other pretty good candidates.  As a Sabres fan, I can't not want to wear #11, and as a Thomas Vanek fan, #26 would be pretty nice as well.  I always liked #81 as a kid, and it would be neat to wear because it's so seldom seen in rec. sports.  I'd also consider wearing #24 (for personal reasons), and #31 for reasons mentioned above.

1 comment:

  1. Bobby Orr wore number 4, only reason I picked to wear that number in one of the leagues as the 12 I had worn in my other ice hockey league was taken.