The number 11 has been a personal favorite of mine since my mom mentioned it being her basketball number when she was a kid. It’s more than a sentimental gesture, really. What was peculiar to me was that my mother, at least the woman I have known the past 33 years, has not one iota of athletic ability but yet she had a basketball number. At some point in her life my delicate, non-competitive, scrawny, athletically disinterested, mother (#11) had the balls to shoot hoops on a team. As bemusing as it was to find out she wanted to be a rockstar as a child, it had nothing on the number 11.
Once the time rolled around for me to be on a basketball team, I shot out of formation and ran to rummage through the cardboard box that coach threw to the gymnasium floor. Unfortunately, so did everyone else. I had one eye on the numbers being lifted out of the box and the other on the goal at hand; finding the number 11 jersey. 10, 8, 12, 22, 45, 50, 2, were the numbers of the jersey that were being ripped out of my hand. To underestimate the combative nature of a thirteen year-old girl searching for a piece of her mother’s legacy in a cardboard box with twenty-something aggressive hands doing the exact same would be a tremendous oversight.
Ah ha! There it was near the bottom of the box alongside number 25 and to my right was a tough-as-nails teammate who had her eye set on my number. Had she not elbowed me in the kisser, I would have ended up with it in the first place. 25 was a sufficient enough number for a bench warmer, but the following year there were no holds barred; I was #11.