Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Argos Kicker Swayze Waters Changes His Number to Honour Longtime Friend

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Argos Kicker Swayze Waters Changes His Number to Honour Longtime Friend

Article excerpt

Waters changes number to honour longtime pal

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TORONTO - Throughout his football career Swayze Waters never thought much about the significance of a jersey number.

He was issued No. 94 as a freshman at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, then various other numbers by the five pro teams he auditioned for, including the No. 30 he has worn since 2012 as a punter/kicker with the Toronto Argonauts.

His latest number will mean much more. Waters will don No. 34 this season in honour of his best friend, Tait Hendrix.

Hendrix, 27, died recently in a motorcycle accident. Waters, also 27, took three days away from Toronto's training camp to be family and friends as they paid their final respects to Hendrix. Upon returning to the Argos, Waters decided to wear Hendrix's No. 34 and dedicate the season to his memory.

"For me, I've never had a reason to put significance in a number until now," Waters said following Monday's practice. "That was Tait's number . . . he's the guy I grew up playing any kind of sport you could think of with.

"It's just my way of honouring him, the life he lived, all the things he taught me and the times we had."

At the request of the Hendrix family, Waters spoke at the funeral. Waters also wrote about Hendrix on his website (www.swayzewaters.com).

"First off, I just communicated to everyone there I was suffering with them," Waters said. "Then I talked about some of the good memories I had, not specifically stories of me and Tait personally but just the kind of guy he was, his smile, his laugh, his character.

"He was just one of those guys you couldn't be around and not have a good time and not smile. He had this work ethic and mindset to get better every day . . . so I left everyone with that challenge: No matter what you do, get better at everything you do every day, keep alive that little piece of Tait that's in all of us. That's how we can honour him as we go forward without him. It will never be the same, it's going to be way different but as we move forward be the best we can every day."

Trouble was, No. 34 in Toronto belonged to rookie defensive back Eric Black. However, it's the number the Argos issued Black and it held no significance to him so when approached by Waters, Black willingly gave it up. …

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