‘Feeling at home in your number’: A look into the Thunderbirds softball team’s jersey numbers

Jersey numbers hold significant meanings for many athletes — some similar and others unique — that can be attributed to different people, places and things in their lives.

Some people wear a number that has an unspeakable influence over them, while others find themselves realizing the number has grown on them throughout their journey.

The Ubyssey asked each member of the UBC women’s softball team why they picked their jersey numbers.

The answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.

#3 Kaitlyn Kim – infielder

My number at home was 32, then when I came here they had 3 available and I’m an ‘03 so I guess that works out. I’ll probably stick with it unless 32 becomes available one day.

#4 Gabrielle Dorval — catcher/ infielder

I chose it because four is one of my lucky numbers. I just have set lucky numbers.

#5 Caitlin Bradley-Tse — outfielder

I chose the number five because I have five members in my family, so that’s kind of meaningful. Also, I just like it because it’s a factor of 10, which feels right.

#7 Olivia Malesku — catcher/infielder

There are seven wonders in the world and this one year, for Halloween, I dressed up as Wonder Woman, so I just thought that it would be cool to be wonderful.

#8 Arshleen Bajwa — outfielder

I’ve always been number eight, since I was younger, and it’s just kind of stuck with me. It was lucky that it was available as soon as I came to UBC.

#9 Kaitlyn Eng — outfielder

I used to be number eight when I played minor ball, but that number was already taken. So then I thought the next best number would be my sister’s birthday on December 19, but they didn’t have 19 either. So I just took nine and now I don’t think I’ll ever choose a new number again.

#10 Casey Lo — outfielder

I grew up playing hockey and ringette, which my dad is a big fan of. He wanted me to be fast, so he picked the number 10 because it belonged to Pavel Bure (the Russian Rocket) and it’s just kinda stuck since then. Especially because my dad picked it and he loves it so I guess I really wear it because he loves it.

#11 Hanna Hansen — outfielder

When I first came to the team my original number was taken. So when I was trying to pick my new number, I settled on 11 because that was the number that my dad grew up playing with.

#12 Lindsay Bell — pitcher

Originally my number was 11, but Hanna Hansen had it. Recently 12 has become more special to me though because it represents my college career, so I can’t really go back now. Twelve forever!

#14 Kennedy Ainge — catcher/outfielder

I chose 14 because my sister wore 14 when she played sports, so I wanted to choose her number. Now, she comes to the games and sees me in our number.

#16 Mia Valcke — outfielder/shortstop

I think I was just given number 16 when I was a little Timbit in hockey and it stuck. It’s also the day after my birthday, so I thought maybe that had some significance. But there’s really nothing to it, and now it’s my favourite thing ever.

#17 Shelby Kempel — pitcher/outfielder

Growing up I was always number 24, but when I came to UBC the jersey numbers only went up to 22. I had to make a change so I picked 17, and I honestly didn’t think I would stick with it throughout all of my years here but it really grew on me after my first season.

#19 Brittain Hunsberger — pitcher/infielder

I chose 19 because I wanted 10, but 1 plus 9 equals 10, so that works!

#20 Shae Sever — pitcher/infielder

My birthday is August 20 so I’ve always just stuck with number 20 because it feels like a part of me.

#21 Keona Nordquist — infielder

When I was in my senior year of high school, I was number 12. Then coming to college, I wanted to change it a bit so I just flipped it backwards and made it 21! It’s been a good vibe since then and it still feels connected to my past seasons.

#27 Taylor McRae — pitcher/infielder

My birthday is on March 27, so when I was younger that was always my number. I had to switch out of it for a while when it wasn’t available but then when I got the chance to choose at UBC, I thought it would be nice to come back to 27. It has made a difference, feeling at home in your number.

#77 Avery Mossop — outfielder

I chose it because I like the number seven, and I thought: “What’s better than one seven? Two sevens.”

Jennifer McKellar —  head coach

I had a specific number — it was 16 — but I didn’t actually wear it until my last year of college. You know, when you come in as a freshman you take the number that you’re given, so I tried to stay near and around 16. One year I did 18, and then 21 the next — which is my birthday. 16 was something I took early in my softball career, I just liked it and so I tried to stick with it. It’s not for any real reason other than that I had it for so long, and then I finally got to wear it again in my last year of college. So any of the memorabilia things that I have kept have always been the number 16; but now I think 16, 18 and 21 have all moulded together to be my lucky numbers.