For some athletes, a jersey number is just a regular number. For other athletes, it represents something much more. Numbers can be superstitions, like a lucky pair of shoes or socks. Some numbers are passed down through generations, representing a family legacy. For others, jersey numbers are a part of their identity.
When Hannah Dobrinick got to choose her jersey number during her sophomore year of softball, she picked one with a special meaning. The number 11 honors her close friend and former teammate, who suddenly passed away her senior year of high school.
“It acts as a reminder to me of how easily the game can be taken away from you and that you should cherish every moment of life and sports, good or bad,” said Dobrinick.
Kobe Long-Weber, a sophomore on the men’s basketball team, wears number 10 to represent his growth as an athlete over the years.
Long-Weber grew up playing basketball. He wore the number 10 simply because it was his favorite number. When he got to high school his number changed to 13, which he kept throughout his four years.
“When I got to college, I went back to 10 because it symbolizes how far I've come and grown as a basketball player,” said Long-Weber. “From starting basketball at five years old, playing against kids that were older than me, to being a college basketball player, I feel like I’m a little kid again every time I put on my jersey and see that number on there.”
Alyson McAdams, a junior on the softball team, said her number and her brother’s football number have a special correlation.
“I wear 28, and my brother’s number for football has always been 79," said McAdams. "My number in high school and club softball was always 51. When you subtract 51 from 79, you get 28. It's cool that our numbers were able to work out that way because we are so close and are each other’s biggest fans."
To the fans in the stands, an athlete’s jersey number is just a number on their back and on the roster. But when these athletes put their jerseys on for every game, it represents much more, reminding them of loved ones, their childhood and their love for the sport.