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Day 103: The Numbers Game

November 18, 2010

“Teachable moment”: Take ownership of your choices before someone else does.

About four months into my stint with the Bakersfield Condors as their broadcaster, I was asked to participate in the team’s alumni/celebrity game.  I hardly considered myself a celebrity, but it’s a small town; TV and newspaper reporters were considered “celebrities”, why not me?  The game included various alumni from the team’s past as well as coaches who have played in the NHL and retirees who actually suited up for Team USA in the Olympics back in the 60s.

The game’s organizer, former player Kevin Barrett, called me about two weeks before the game and asked me what number I’d like to wear.  I was apprehensive about selecting a number because players take their digits to heart; they’ve worked a career to earn the right to wear those chosen numbers and I didn’t want to swipe anyone’s out of respect.  I politely declined the opportunity and decided to allow Kevin to choose for me.

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, just pick a number that you don’t think anyone else will wear.”

“I definitely will…<CLICK>”

I thought nothing of it…but looking back on the cryptic end to that conversation, I should have been prepared…

…Devin Rossiter – “The Great One”.

I knew what this meant, and my students knew what this meant since they had just finished Jack Falla’s wonderful “Home Ice.”

I got knocked around by those guys.  “Get up, Gretzky!” “This is like the video game scene from Swingers!” “You’re only about 1,000 points away from the record!”

The joke at the end of the night was that many in attendance had assumed I wore No. 66, since that’s the way it appeared as I was off my skates for so much of the evening.

The point I wanted to make was that there are some numbers you just don’t wear in certain situations.  You’d never try to wear No. 3 while playing for the Yankees, or No. 32 for the Lakers…

“Or No. 12 for the Patriots, like Tom Brady!  Right, Mr. Rossiter?!”

…Yeah, just like that, kid.



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