/More Than Just a Number

More Than Just a Number

My current jersey next to my dad’s football jersey from when he was in high school. He played with the McVille High School Blackhawks from 1984 to 1988. He also played baseball and was a successful basketball player.  Photo by Nathan Loibl
Nathan Loibl’s jersey next to his dad’s football jersey from when he was in high school. His dad played with the McVille High School Blackhawks from 1984 to 1988. He also played baseball and was a successful basketball player. Photo by Nathan Loibl

By Caleb Friginal and Nathan Loibl

 

Nathan Loibl: 12. That number means a lot to me. My dad wore that number during his high school football and basketball careers in his hometown of McVille, North Dakota. He has been an inspiration to many, from being an Olympic torchbearer for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, to being one of the youngest high school basketball officials to officiate the North Dakota’s men’s basketball state tournament. Later, he was inducted into North Dakota’s Referee Hall of Fame. He did this all while battling colon cancer for four years, from ages 28 to 32.

I was only six years old when he passed away; my brother was only two. Friends and family always tell my brother and me how great of a person he was, how successful he was in high school athletics, and how he always had a smile on his face through all of the adversity. He is my number one role model, and I want follow the path that he set as an outstanding individual.

How could I do that? Go back to where it all started. For this past football season, I changed my jersey number from 27 to his number, 12. It forced me to set a standard of excellence for myself to model his success and to do his number proud.

My number 12 made me wonder if there are other athletes here at Legend that have meaning behind their numbers like I do. So Caleb and I set out to find the stories behind other athletes’ jersey numbers.

Carter Kling: Carter Kling is a senior varsity baseball player. Kling has been with the program since freshman year and has been wearing number 29 for the last two seasons. Although he picked the number himself, there was no initial reason except that “it was the only jersey in [his] size.” Although 29 wasn’t his first choice, it has grown on him and he embraces it.

According to Kling, the coolest thing he’s done while wearing the number 29 was “hitting a homerun against Chaparral to put [his team] ahead.” Kling says he hopes to change back to his favorite number, 13, as he pursues his baseball career at the collegiate level.

Sophie Brennan: Sophie Brennan is a junior volleyball player who has been on the varsity team since her sophmore year. She was given the number 14 for her freshman, sophomore, and junior seasons, but she doesn’t want to get too attached to any number because she’s not superstitious, even though she racked up 691 assists her junior season.

“If I wear the same number every year and I get to college and I can’t wear it, I would be real upset,” Brennan said. So while she was number 14 this year, she could be any number next year. It won’t affect her.

Brennan has recieved interest from University of West Florida, University of Northern Colorado, and Bentley University.

Connor Pierce: Connor Pierce is a big guy. The 6-foot-3-inch 230 pound offensive lineman has been in the Legend football program for the past three seasons. Pierce was given a select number of choices to choose from and he “liked the way 60 looked.”

“It’s a big number so you have to have a big personality, big body, just big,” said Pierce. The number 60 has grown to be Pierce’s favorite number and many people refer to him as “CP60.” So whether its at Qdoba or on the field, Pierce has worn the number 60 to its fullest.

Anna Kennedy: Anna Kennedy, a junior soccer player, has started on the varsity team for Legend since freshman year. Kennedy has been number 16 for almost her entire soccer career, including club soccer and Legend’s girls team. The number has quite a history behind it. 16 was her dad’s number when he played soccer and she is required to keep the jersey for this upcoming season. Although the number was originally her father’s, she has made it her own.

“I split my eyebrow last year and got blood all over (my jersey)” said Kennedy, as a result, she’s now required to wear 16.