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Ottawa Athletes Talk the Numbers Game

By Jon Painter
On December 4, 2017

Photo by: Ashley Alonzo

For athletes who play a team sport at Ottawa University, the number on the back of their uniform is a source of tremendous honor and pride.

To some players, the number a person wears carries a lifelong journey of sweat and persistence. The number is a personal flag of merit for each athlete determined to leave their imprint on the field of competition.

Every athlete at OU has their own reasons for choosing each number. Isaiah Palmer, junior forward on the Braves men’s basketball team, wears 13 in honor of his late grandmother, as 13 was her favorite number.

Senior Brock Huber, a catcher on the Braves baseball team, carried the number 6 throughout high school before having to change to 18 upon enrolling at OU. Huber explains he wore 6 in high school because of an upper classmen who was a mentor.

“I wanted to be just like him,” he says.

When asked about the sudden number change, Huber replies: “I was just happy to have a uniform honestly. I’m not superstitious when it comes to numbers”.

Every athlete is proud of their number, and Huber channeled that pride for his number 18 saying, “I hope to impact someone the same way I was impacted in high school and decided to wear 6. I hope they want to wear 18”.

Junior Alexa Romero, a second baseman for the OU Lady Braves softball team, wears 28 -- the number that was just given to her when she came to OU. Romero says she always used to wear 15, as it was passed down through her family members; her grandfather, father, and her older siblings all wore 15. Romero’s grandfather passed away when she was young, and she has kept 15 since. She keeps the number 15 on a necklace, explaining, “I always have it even if I have a different number”.

Michael Sanchez, a junior free safety on the OU Braves football team, used to wear number 23 in high school. On Aug. 23, 2013, Sanchez’s grandmother passed away going into his senior season. Ever since then, Sanchez has felt that 23 had to be his number. But upon coming to OU, Sanchez had to switch because another player on the team had 23.

Sanchez picked 21 as it was the closest he could get to 23. This was also the number of the late free safety for the Washington Redskins, Sean Taylor, who Sanchez emulates as a football player.

“Whoever wears 21 after me, I want them to know that in order to have that number you got to be a baller, you got to love the game, you got to be one of the people on the team that has the most enthusiasm, most hyped up all the time,” Sanchez says. “Whoever wears 21, whether they’re a running back or safety or corner, they just got to make plays.”

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