Numbers mean something

What number are you? The number athletes wear mean a lot to them, and they mean a lot to the folks who are fans.

What numbers are retired for your favorite team? Who wore them? What made them so great?

Part of the great things about having a child in athletics is teaching them about the players they like, and the numbers they can wear. We’re both fans of players from our “hometown” teams, the teams that call Detroit home as well as the University of Michigan.

The last few years, he’s been No. 19 in hockey and baseball. Then he was No. 20 in baseball. And that’s from learning about players like Steve Yzerman (former Red Wings captain and No. 19) and Barry Sanders (former Lions player and No. 20). Both of those guys are in their respective sport’s hall of fame.

I encouraged him to grab a single-digit number, though. So, we cycled through a handful of numbers and discussed what number he should go for. He had a choice to make for hockey and one to make for baseball. In football, he wore the number he was assigned.

We settled on No. 6. The number fits perfectly in baseball. The Tigers’ famous No. 6 is right fielder Al Kaline. My son is a right fielder. Now, he might not hit like Kaline, but we’re working on it. And he may not be the best fielder, either. We’re working on it. My son sometimes plays at third base, and he rarely pitches, but he plays where he’s told and does the best he can.

We also settled on No. 6 for what it means out of the Red Wings’ franchise. The guy who set the tone for the first best Detroit teams was Larry Aurie. Based on the descriptions I was reading about Aurie, and my son being not so big himself, but with tons of heart, it made sense.

However, because my son was born in a year that ends in an odd number, he had to have an odd-numbered sweater this season when it came to time to get a number. He asked for either 5 or 7, staying with that single number class.

He wound up having No. 5. Both of those numbers have special places in both the Tigers’ and Red Wings’ histories. The No. 5 in Tigers history is rooted way back into the 1930s and 1940s thanks to Hank Greenberg. Teaching him about Greenberg’s career, and what he went through, is good.

The No. 5 in Red Wings recent history is easy to teach thanks to the outstanding career of Nick Lidstrom. And given that watching Wingspan on Fox Sports Detroit right now, showing and learning about Lidstrom helps my son. And it is especially helpful because he’s becoming a full-time defenseman this season after playing as a center and winger the last two years.

Whatever numbers he wears in the future, we’ll have discussions about who wore them for our favorite teams.

Old school. I was looking at my version of Photostop Elements that use to work my photos and do some graphic design, and it kind of surprised me. It’s Photoshop Elements 2.0. It came out in 2002. My son is younger than the version of Photoshop Elements that I use to create the cards of my son (and me).

I haven’t upgraded to a newer version of Photoshop Elements or even the full version of Photoshop. Those programs are quite expensive, and quite frankly, good old Photoshop Elements 2.0, although missing some things I would like to do because it isn’t the complete Photoshop, gets the job done for me.

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