I do not know your name, I do not know where you are from, and I do not know what position you play. But in a few short months, you will be wearing my number 6.
The number on a players jersey is more than just a number. It is an identity. The choosing of your number always has a story behind it. As athletes, it plays a part in the legacy that you will leave behind, and how people will remember your career. In basketball, when you hear the number 23, you think of Michael Jordan. In lacrosse, when you hear the number 99, you think of Paul Rabil. Players pick their numbers for all different types of reasons. Maybe it is to recognize your favorite player, maybe it is as simple as being your favorite number, possibly even your lucky number, or you think it just looks cool. No matter what the reason is behind picking your number, it is somehow significant to you and you will never forget it.
For me, I changed numbers multiple times throughout my career. I was number 23 for a little while, then changed to number 12 up until the tenth grade, then finally decided on the number 6. The number 6 was my dad’s number back in high school. He was the sixth born out of his eight siblings and I thought that it would be cool to commemorate all that he has done for me in my life, and the sport of lacrosse. I was number 6 from tenth grade all the way through my senior year of college, and everytime I stepped on the field, I was proud to be wearing the number 6.
To whomever will be taking over my number 6, here is a little advice for you. As soon as you step on the field, in practice, games, conditioning, in the weight room, and on your own time, play your heart out.
As a freshman, you are probably nervous, just like every other freshman on campus. You might be asking yourself… “Will I be smart enough? Big enough? Fast enough? Strong enough? Will I make the right decisions? Is this where I want to be?” I was fortunate enough to have my younger brother, who is my best friend, attending Hartwick College as a freshman in while I was in my senior year. He wondered the same thing and I answered with the simple, seemingly cliche answer, “just be yourself.” The best advice I can give to any freshman is to be yourself, surround yourself with a group of genuine people, work hard at everything you do, and make sure to enjoy yourself.
College is four years of a whole new experience where you learn all about yourself, the people around you, your family, and the real world. Being an athlete in college requires a lot of time, hard work, and sacrifice in order to be successful, but it comes with the perks of meeting your best friends who go into battle with you every game day. Work hard on and off the field and you will be rewarded with good grades, a successful lacrosse career, and lots of friends who you will know forever.
As I am giving advice to whoever wears the future number 6, I look back at who was number 6 before me. I did not personally know him, but before me was a midfielder from Massachusetts who led the team in assists, and second on the team in goals and points in his senior year.
Although my number 6 jersey now sits encased in glass hanging on my wall, you will wear your number 6 jersey prominently on your back for the next four years. The way you carry yourself, on and off the field, will be how people remember you, and the number you wear will be apart of the legacy that you have created. I wish you the best of luck on your journey, make us proud.