The Number 11

An athletes number is very sacred, it represents more than just a number. It’s a surface look of who they are, why they do that they do, and the identity that they carry into every moment. It’s the driving force behind the tenacity and grit you see between the lines. It allows an athlete to feel a sense of pride when they put it on, knowing they are going to give their all to something bigger than them.

That sacred number was 11 for me, and this blog is dedicated to telling you why.

The Origin

Like every athlete, the beginning of the season is the time to pick your number. You line up, and if you’re lucky, you get first dibs at all the options. Most players at a young age don’t understand the value a sports number will hold. They usually pick a number because of their favorite player, or their parents previous number to keep the competitive spirit alive, and I intended to do the former.

Growing up my favorite baseball player was David Wright, who wore #5 for the New York Mets. I wanted to wear #5 because of who it represented, but for an odd reason I had an attachment to the #11 that I didn’t quite understand.

While struggling to pick between the two numbers, a man (I can’t remember who, it was certainly one of my buddies fathers) came up to me and guided me on the decision. He said to me, “You can either wear #5 and be like David Wright, or you can wear #11 and one day people will wear it because of you”. Of course the image and emotions of an accomplishment like that came flooding into my mind, making the choice of #11 much easier. I decided to take #11, and that would be the number to stick with me.

Unfortunately, my baseball days are over, and no young kids are wearing the number 11 because of me. (Except my little brother, which is way cooler if you ask me). However, what actually stemmed from that choice was something so much greater. Something I’ll be able to take with me everywhere I go, remembering the people who mean the most to me.

My One’s

The more years you play a sport, the more nicknames you’ll have – and I left with more than I can count. Some nicknames involve your actual name, but others involve a short name formed around the number that you wear. For example, my teammates would usually call me “Sticks”, because the number 11 looks like two sticks next to each other – but they would also call me “Ones”, which was my absolute favorite.

The nickname “ones” became my favorite because it reminded me of all of the people who I had love for in my life. It reminded me of my loved ones because I never wanted to say I had more love for one specific person over anybody else. If I loved you, I would have your back regardless, I would support you, and you would be my one.

The number 11 fit because I had a lot of “Ones”. I didn’t want anyone to come in second, so everyone held the place of the number one. Each person was at the top and they were a collective group of my most important people, not separate in my heart.

A Nickname For Life

The #11 will always be my life number. Simply, no other number could possibly hold that much value and represent the people who have given me so much of them.

I no longer wear that number on my back anymore, but I do wear it around a necklace.

I wear it as a constant reminder to keep moving forward because I have the most amazing people in my life. Through that number around my necklace, I can hold each individual “one” close to me through any pursuit that I take on.

I can find strength in them because as we know at this point, there is nothing we can do alone. We need the people who love us each step of the way.

So to my “ones”, you know who you are. Thank you for everything you have done for me to give this beautiful number so much meaning. I will continue wearing it in some from or another, and together we will accomplish some pretty amazing feats.

I love you guys.

Never Stop Hustling

“Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want your in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and love you no matter what”

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One response to “The Number 11”

  1. This is so awesome. Your writing as well brings the story to life. Always enjoyed watching you grow but enjoy even more the man you’re becoming. I wore 2 to remind myself that you always have to push to be better.

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