Beyond the Jersey: Lafayette High and the number 21 jersey

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – A jersey can be retired for many reasons. Whether the player is the leading scorer of all time or has committed to a team for years, but no matter the reason it’s always done to show respect.

Paul Myers tragically died during a tractor accident. He wore the number 21 in both baseball and football for Lafayette high school and the jersey was retired to honor his legacy. But this year, one athlete, Caleb Washington, has the privilege of wearing that number and honoring Myers’ memory.

“Paul Laurence, he’s what we would call a ‘dirtbag’, he loved to get dirty whether it was football or baseball. Was a great kid and everybody looked up to him. He always worked hard every day,” says Lafayette High Assistant football coach Sam Taulli.

After he passed, his number was retired.

Until Lafayette High School head football coach Rob Poole felt that Myers’ life should be honored on the field.

“Instead of just putting it on the shelf and everyone wondering why there’s no 21 or even not noticing it, we wanted to recognize him and try and keep his legend alive so that kids from now on know that there was a reason that that number was special,” says Poole.

A special number that Caleb Washington has the honor of wearing.

“When they first asked me to wear it I said I’ll think about, I’ll pray on it and see if this is really what God wants me to do and I thought it would be a great opportunity to honor someone like Mister Paul Myers and be the first to wear this jersey”, explains Washington.

The fact that Washington well taking the field in that number has him excited.

“But as soon as I step on the field I always stop at the one-yard line and the end zone and I get on my knee and pray and I just thank God for everything and thank him for keeping angels over me like my father, my grandfather, but now I have someone to add to that list, Mr. Paul Myers,” says Washington.

And Washington thanks Myers’ mother, Karen, for allowing him to honor her son.

“Right now I’m trying to hold back tears but I just want to thank her for giving birth to such a great person you know she lost him so early I just want to keep her in mind every time I touch the field”

Washington’s first time stepping foot on the field in jersey 21 will be September 1 against St. Thomas More.

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