Jersey number represents pride, identity


Patrick Agustin

The JV Boys basketball team get energized for a regular season basketball game against Quince Orchard HS.

Julia Fine, Sports Writer

Michael Jordan’s was 23, Tom Brady’s was 12, and Wayne Gretzky’s was 99. The number on a jersey is a signature part of many athlete’s personas and are what fans know the athletes as. Some athletes have strong connections to their number, and some simply just put on whichever one they see first. A patch on their shorts, a cheap sticker on their back, or a stitch on their shoulder can mean so much to someone. Throughout RM, there are countless stories about student athletes’ connection to their number. 

“11 has always been my lucky number, ” sophomore Madison Heitzman said. This response is very common, with many student athletes picking a number they think is lucky or their favorite number. Some may think it’s just a sticker on the back of the jersey, but to many at RM, it means more. “Three has been my favorite number forever,” sophomore Krish Parikh said. 

To others, their number was randomly picked from a list of numbers, or it was the last one they could find, but they’ve grown attached to it since. “5 was the lowest one available sophomore year, ” senior Davanee McNairy said. Even though the number was not her first choice, she has stuck with it ever since and is now her signature number at RM. Others have had similar experiences, such as sophomore goalie Meredith Kearns. “In my first lacrosse game in third grade, I was given 9, and I’ve stuck with it ever since,” Kearns said.  A jersey number can become your personal sense of pride, and what represents you on the court or field.

Jersey numbers can stem from a wide variety of parts of your life, from birthdays to memories to a root of inspiration. “The number 10 symbolizes perfection for me, and it reminds me that I can always be better, because I never get the complete 10/10,” sophomore varsity baseball player Aitan Yachin said. Birthdays are extremely common points of inspiration for jersey numbers, from the month to the year to the day. “I picked 5 because I was born in 2005,” junior soccer player Maddie Walsh said. Role models can also be a reason to pick a certain number for your jersey. “Some of my favorite goalies in professional soccer are number 1, like Hope Solo,” sophomore varsity soccer goalie Julie Schweiters said. 

Finally, some people just get the last number available, and don’t have a real connection to it. “Honestly it was one of the last numbers left, so I just went with it,” junior baseball player Mason Roth said.  For many teams, the younger players get last pick, resulting in them receiving numbers they don’t connect with.  “I was on varsity as a freshman and I was the only one so I was  the absolute last one that got to choose, and the only one left was 24,” sophomore Mckinley Heaven said. 

Having a connection with your jersey number can help your performance in sports. According to Advanced Human Performance Systems, “What having a favorite number can do, however, is give the athlete a level of comfort that helps minimize performance anxiety and increase self-confidence.” When athletes have this better sense of control, confidence, and stress, their own field performance can improve, as they have a stronger motivation and focus. Jersey numbers can also help build identities of athletes, furthering the importance they are to certain athletes. Next time you have the opportunity to pick your number for a sport, take an extra second to think about what number can spark a connection.