Selecting a Uniform Number - Avoiding the "Not Fair" Complaints

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You just wouldn't think selecting a softball player's uniform number would be a big deal. BUT IT IS!!! I have had to deal with this three times in six years. It's just so petty. I've seen parents become irate because their daughter didn't get her favorite number. I always think, "does it really matter and can I just teach her how to hit a line drive?"

My favorite solution is to just number the uniforms 1 through12 and whatever number you get is yours for the season. If you can stick to this rule it will not eliminate the complaints about their uniform number but it will eliminate complaints about some players being given preferential treatment. You may also find that this will reduce the cost of the uniforms as many uniform suppliers charge by the digit when numbering. For example, #1 may cost $2.00 but #10 may cost $4.00. Therefore, by maximizing the number of uniforms that have singel digits you may reduce your overall uniform cost.

The next option is to let the girls pick their uniform number. Be careful with this. There are going to be 4 players that all want lucky number 7. So who gets to pick their number first? Don't just let them start picking by who gets in line first. You will quickly learn from an irate parent that was not fair to her daughter. (I have lived through this little nightmare.) Write the numbers 1 through 12 on pieces of paper and put them in a hat. Then let each player draw a number from the hat. The number they draw will be their position in selecting their uniform number. If they draw number 2 then they get to pick second. By using this method, you can explain to the upset parent that it was completely fair, completely random, and there was no preferential treatment given to any player.

One year, one of the girls didn't make it to practice the day we were trying on uniforms for sizes and picking numbers. So that player ended up with the last pick for a number. Naturally, her favorite number had alreay been selected by another player. When the mother asked me about it I told her I was sorry her daughter hadn't been there, but I was not going to redo the entire number selection exercise so her daughter might get to choose before the other player. The mother ended up calling the other player's mother and talking her into switching numbers. UNBELIEVEABLE!





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