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Semi Pro Numerology…What’s In a Number?

Floating Numbers

SpenceBy: Juggie DaTrini Spence


Numerology, commonly thought of as a belief in a divine, metaphysical or other significant relationship between a number and some coinciding events. It occurs in almost every aspect of everyday living and athletics, but it takes on a special importance in our world of football.

A recent topic of discussion on Facebook revealed some interesting perspectives on the treatment of a jersey number. However, before we discuss the stories shared by a few players, I have a question. Do you remember the first number you were ever assigned? I do!

I wore 62 as a RB and CB. Why the number 62? At the time that was the only jersey available. It was 2 sizes too big, and cut like the popular 1980’s belly shirt. I couldn’t wait til next season because I knew I’d be the first to sign up so I could get the first pick of numbers. Then came college, I walked in thinking, they wanted me to come here so I should get any number I want, so i thought. My bubble burst when I walked into the equipment room, was thrown a bag of shorts, a t-shirt, 4 pairs of socks, practice pants, a girdle, 7 pad set and the long awaited practice jersey number 13. Turned to coach A and asked if 11 was available, he laughed and said to me in his Georgia accent,

“Boy, you done lost your mind, you fittin to get hemmed up asking bout 11”. I didn’t know what “fittin to” meant but it couldn’t be good.

So naive I asked Coach A who had number 11? After an awkward silence, I realized that the starting Free Safety wore 11 and he was a half crazy, mentally unstable stud. Once again, I realized there was a pecking order to number assignment. I Eventually earned my way up the pecking order and senior year I got the 11 I wanted. Although I spent most of that season injured my 11 looked real good over my sweats! Unfortunately, here in semi-pro football there is still a pecking order.

Chin    There are returning vets like Isaiah Chin of the Golden Eagles, who believe, “It’s just a number” but then there are guys like Rashid ‘Slush’ Darrisaw of the Bounty Hunters, who’ve admitted to having “paid a dude to give up a number”.


So to some the number is not something they’re married to and some who could care less about the number.  However, there are guys like Divine Jackson, who’s worn 11 all his career and shared that he “denied schools because the number wasn’t available”. Then there are guys who don’t have to defend their number because it’s a known fact that some numbers are off limits, such as that of #3 Quincy Banks of the New York Bandits. Unfortunately, the debate gets more interesting when there are a pair of guys with equally exalted careers who wear the same number and now find themselves as teammates. That makes for a an interesting situation and one we may just see this upcoming FSFL season.

In conclusion “A number doesn’t make catches or tackles” according to Coach Jim, but you, the player does. Despite the number you may wear, own it, and rock it with SWAG!

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