PERRYSBURG, Ohio — So much goes into picking out the number you want on your jersey.
For some, it can become part of your identity.
But for two football players at Perrysburg, the number 5 has actually brought them closer together.
So what’s in a number anyway?
A number on the back of a jersey can mean different things to different people.
Perrysburg junior quarterback T.J. Takats has been wearing number 5 ever since he started playing sports.
“When I was little, I really liked Albert Pujols for baseball. So I just started wearing it, and wearing it, and wearing it up until now,” said Takats.
So that number 5 has a lot of meaning for the QB. But it also has a lot of meaning to senior Easton Wagner.
“I didn’t want to be that guy that said ‘I’m a senior, give it to me.’ I didn’t want to do that. I was ‘if you feel comfortable, and if you’d be willing to, I’d like to wear this’,” said Wagner.
Once Takats heard why Wagner wanted the number, the decision to give it up was an easy one.
Wagner’s uncle passed away about two years ago but his memory is living on through Easton every Friday night.
“He actually was a senior in high school when I was born, and he wore that number throughout high school and it was important to him,” said Easton. “He always wanted to make sure to watch me play high school football, and he never got the chance. I wanted to wear number 5 to honor him and T.J. took it to heart and I think he made a big sacrifice to make it happen.”
T.J. could have resisted but he recognized what it meant for his teammate.
“He deserved it more than me. He had a bigger purpose. Someone in the family passing away which I’m sad for that,” said Takats. “My parents preach to just be good people and I thought that was just a good deed to do.”
It was an act of selflessness from one teammate to another, the kind of thing that can bring a team together.
For some it might seem like a small gesture, but for Wagner it meant the world.
“I mean it means a lot. That number means everything to him. He’s worn it forever, and it’s never been a number to me until it actually started to mean something,” said Wagner. “For him to give it up it brings tears to the eyes really.”
Perrysburg is off to a good start this season, helped no doubt by the spirit of togetherness of the players on the team.