Celine will wear number 22 for Waza East this season and Brandon picked number 29 for his Force Black soccer team this season.
They are new numbers for both kids because they are playing on new teams and their old numbers (9 for Celine and 55 for Brandon) were taken. All-time rushing leader Emmitt Smith wore number 22. So did Elgin Baylor and Clyde Drexler. As far as number 29 some of the best athletes to wear those numbers were Rod Carew and Eric Dickerson.
Picking a number is always exciting. When I was a kid everybody wanted number 23 or 6 because of Willie Horton and Al Kaline. I settled for 7 because I thought Mickey Mantle was cool. One year I wore 8 just to switch things up.
One of my favorite jersey stories involved Celine. She loved number 3 (Chris Paul and Allen Iverson) but when she moved from rec to The Force 3 was already taken. They gave her the number 9. Celine cried because she thought it was a bad number. I told her she should be proud to wear 9 because Gordie Howe wore it for the Red Wings and he is one of the greatest hockey players ever. I told her how tough he was and all the goals he scored.
“Is this guy for real,” she asked.
I assured her that Gordie Howe was real and she wore his number the past five years.
I passed along the story to Howe and he laughed at the story.
“Tell Celine I was pretty good,” he said.
Yes he was and he did the number 9 justice.