Lucky Number 13

Running back Malik O’Atis plans on being number 13 long after his high years are over

Grace Logan

Running back Malik O’Atis wasn’t always a football person. He’d played it in second grade, but switched to basketball for some time. 

“Coach Black came to our middle school in eighth grade,” O’Atis said. “ ‘You look like you’d be a good football player,’ while I was playing basketball . Then he said, ‘That sounds like something somebody soft would say.’ So I’d play football freshman year.”

Freshman year changed O’Atis’ mind, the people and school support made him continue to play football. Having played football before, he didn’t doubt his abilities, and that hasn’t changed. 

“I don’t doubt myself, I know what I can do,” O’Atis said. “In fact everybody in the state knows.”

O’Atis still get nervous before games, but he has his pre-game rituals and superstitions, including the number on his jersey.

“I’ve had number since freshman year,” O’Atis said. “I’d say it’s my lucky number. I want to be thirteen for all my years of playing sports, no matter what level I play at.”

After high school, O’Atis plans on pursuing football during college. He is worried, but his mom gives him the support he needs. 

“ has gone with me on all my college visits and she’s helped me through choosing what I want to do for college,” O’Atis said. “Stuff that other people haven’t helped me with behind closed doors.” 

O’Atis pushes himself everyday to be better in football, and in life, he wants to improve himself and thinks his younger self would be proud of him now. 

“I feel like he would be proud of me,” O’Atis said. “I went through a lot in elementary and middle school. I was in a bad place and I was a very bad kid. If he saw how far we’ve come and how we’ve matured, he would be proud of where we are now.”