September–let’s remember: Sevens

I’m not into numerology, but as I am going through the numbers each day this month, I have to start paying it a little attention. One website, tells me this about seven:

  • Number 7 is the number of perfection, security, safety and rest.
  • Seven contains the number three of the heavens and soul with the number four of the earth and body.
  • The Pythagoreans called the number 7 “the Septad”.
  • Seven is the fourth prime number, and has many exotic prime number properties. See Wikipedia
  • Seven is the lowest natural number that cannot be represented as the sum of the squares of three integers.
  • The seven colors of the rainbow.
  • Isaac Newton identified the seven colors of the rainbow as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.
  • Number 7 is the international country calling code for Russia.
  • The opposite sides of a dice always equal the number seven when added.
  • There are seven days in a week.
  • There are seven notes to the diatonic scale.
  • There are seven letters in the Roman numeral system.
  • September means “the seventh month” in Latin.

I could just end this post, right there. 🙂

But, seven has its personal significance.

When I first started playing football for a team that had numbered shirts, seven was my number; I played ‘outside right’ or ‘right wing’. In those days, I did not shift formal starting position. If the coach decided to play me elsewhere, I would be assigned a different shirt number. It was simple. Then came ‘squad numbering’, whereby a player was assigned a number for a season, and it could be anything, usually no more than two digits, or the limit was the total number of players in the squad, say 22. When I first started with that system, I got number seven. Yeah! But, as I moved clubs or teams, I was assigned other numbers, often 11, but also 6. I had a personal resistance to ’10’, out of deference for who I thought was the best player in the world, Pele, and I did not have the temerity to wear ‘his’ number. 🙂

Traditional football jersey numbering and positions
I was happy with those assignments. I am not especially superstituous, but I would not wear ’13’. I have worn ’14’.

In the days of single substitutes, I wore ’12’ as I was the sub for the first team for much of a season. I preferred that to playing for the second team, as it meant I could get a chance to be seen by the head coach, rather than his hearing about my exploits second-hand. It also gave him a chance to see first-hand how good my attitude was to ‘sitting on the bench’ and ‘waiting for a chance’. Of course, if I got to play and did not impress, I would get a good dose of “Jones, that’s why you’re on the bench!” 🙂

When I first started coaching, I gave my girls their choice of number, and I don’t recall any major squabble over the assignments. They kept the same numbers each season, while they stayed on the team, and if they left that number became available to any new player, not for reassignment within the existing team. So, we had conversations like ‘Lindsay is wearing Shannon’s old number. Go, Shannon!’ It was a tease that often touched little nerves, but such is the nature of teams.

When I formed a men’s team and was its player-manager, I took the number 6. I can’t recall exactly why, but I think it was mainly because I decided I was no longer fast enough to play in the front line all the game, and opted to play sweeper/libero. The greats in that position, like Beckenbauer and Moore, wore 6. They were great, but not Pele. That was also the number of the ‘left half-back’ in the traditional system, and I had started at primary school playing that position. So, plenty of logic. 

By that time, in my late 30s, I thought I had both the tactical and technical skills to be a good ‘play maker’, and though a forward most of my playing days, I had been taught to defend well from an early age. I was not a destructive kicker of people, but my timing was usually very good. I had also been taught early that if the ball goes past me, the man must not :).

As Wikipedia also points out, Most people in Continental Europe and increasingly in the UK and Ireland as well as Latin America write 7 with a line in the middle, sometimes with the top line crooked. The line through the middle is useful to clearly differentiate the character from the number one, as these can appear similar when written in certain styles of handwriting. This glyph is used in official handwriting rules for primary school in Russia, Ukraine, Poland, other Slavic countries, as well as in France, Finland, Romania, Germany and Hungary’.screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-9-39-50-am That’s how I write 7, having learned it when I visited France, as a boy, and thinking it cool and as a way to stand out. 🙂

Knowing that Russia’s country code is 7  just fits well with a Russian speaker 😊

So, there. I’ve learned a lot, and I hope you did, too.