Submitted by Matie Wolkow
Junior Matie Wolkow lives in sets of 12. It’s the number on the calculator she uses in Algebra II. It’s what she catches herself counting out when she counts out things in groups. It’s the seat she sits in on the bus to her softball games. But most importantly, it’s the two gray digits that lay on the back of her red jersey.
Wolkow started playing softball when she was 6 years old. When told she had to pick a jersey number, she immediately thought of the number two. For years, Wolkow had idolized her older sister, Whitney, who she had watched wear the number two on her own softball jersey. Whitney inspired Wolkow to join the sport, so Wolkow wanted to feel like her sister was on the field with her. Instead of copying Whitney entirely, Wolkow decided to incorporate her sister into her jersey by choosing the number 12. One to represent herself, and 2 to stand for Whitney.
“Everything I do, I want some sort of deeper meaning behind it,” Wolkow said. “It motivates me more than just a random number.”
From her first practice in elementary school to her high school games now, Wolkow has always kept the number 12. She believes that having the number for so long is a sign that it was meant to be hers, as it’s rare for many young athletes to do so. Wolkow considers herself to be superstitious and said that the number 12 has become a good luck charm for her on the field.
“If I wasn’t number 12, I wouldn’t be the same,” Wolkow said. “I don’t think I’d have the same energy about me if I didn’t have it.”
Wolkow is committed to play softball at McLennan Community College after she graduates in spring 2021. She hopes to continue to wear 12 once she joins, as she believes it will help keep her grounded in college and show how she’ll always be the same person regardless of major changes in her life.
“I don’t want to change who I am just because I’m in a different environment,” Wolkow said. “By staying number 12, I’m not going to change for other people.”
When she realized the significance of her jersey number, Wolkow said it made her appreciate the value 12 holds for her. Wolkow said that she believes that many athletes have similar feelings about their numbers and feels that they’re a vital part to making an athlete feel unique.
“Jersey numbers allow you to have something that’s individualized and personal to you,” Wolkow said. “If there were no numbers, everyone would just be the same.”