Skin in the Game: Athletes and their tattoos

Athletes share the stories behind their tattoos.

Image courtesy of Everett Winchester

Image courtesy of Everett Winchester

Gianna Alberti, Contributing Writer

Editor’s Note: Not all athletes were able to submit an image during the time of the publication of this article. 

Almost every person who has a tattoo has a special meaning for it, and athletes are no exception. 

Most of FAU’s athletes are covered in tattoos, whether they are football, basketball, baseball, or soccer players- even cheerleaders have them. Tattoos have rapidly become a big part of sports culture.  

The University Press swept the locker rooms to hear the stories behind the athletes’ ink. 

Men’s Basketball: Everett Winchester, Guard

Everett Winchester, a guard on the men’s basketball team, got his first tattoo when he was 15. Since then, he has gotten 13 tattoos, covering most of his arm and chest.

Time is ticking — on Winchester’s arm. He has a rose which symbolizes peace. Above the rose is a clock that says “God’s Timing” which is a reminder to be patient. Above that, his forearm is adorned with three crosses, a depiction of Jesus and the two thieves that were crucified on the hilltop.

Image courtesy of Everett Winchester

“My tattoos all tell a story from my life, so they mean a lot to me. It shows my strength and my resilience to beat and overcome anything,” Winchester said. “During the time I had two knee surgeries in less than a year and had three people that meant so much to me pass away. So that tattoo helps me remember to lean on my faith. There are some things that I can’t control, but I should always remember to trust God’s timing and trust that God has a plan.”

While Winchester plans to add more tattoos to his 13, he is going to take a little break for now.

Men’s Basketball: Alijah Martin, Guard

Since he was a kid, Martin always wanted tattoos. To respect his mom’s wishes, he waited until he turned 18 to get his first tattoo.

Martin has five tattoos, all connected to his sleeve, but his bicep and tricep tattoos are where he put his most meaningful designs. 

Image courtesy of Alijah Martin

He chose his arm so people always see what his tattoos represent: his family, a loved one who passed away, motivation, and spirituality.

Martin plans to have his leg sleeve and chest tattooed up by next year with more inspirational tattoos, motivating him to be better or focused on his goals.

Men’s Basketball: Bryan Greenlee, Guard

While all seven of Greenlee’s tattoos each have a different meaning, as a whole, they symbolize the person he is today.

Wrapped around his neck are the birthdates of his grandmother and mother. He explained that the Roman numeral dates give him the motivation to continue working. 

Image courtesy of Bryan Greenlee

“I envisioned the idea beforehand, saw a few ideas online, and liked the look because I wouldn’t be who I am today without them and it is a constant reminder of what they mean to me,” Greenlee said.

Men’s Soccer: Filip Jauk, Forward

Image courtesy of Filip Jauk

Jauk does not have a favorite tattoo, but rather a favorite place: his arm because he gets to show it off. His left arm is covered in a sleeve with the Joker, from the DC franchise, at the top and an eye by his wrist. He lost track of how many he has on his arm, but believes it is around seven or eight.

At the age of 16, Jauk got his first tattoo. “It is my family’s name, and I did it with purpose because they are so meaningful to me,” he said.

Once he got his first tattoo, Jauk decided to start filling the rest of his arm, creating a sleeve with deep and meaningful tattoos, including  his mother’s eye and Jesus with the word, “Believe.”

Baseball: Tibur Rivero, Pitcher

Rivero believes that his tattoo artist will never come up short.

His left arm is almost completely covered in seven tattoos. All of his tattoos have a similar style, primarily Tribal/Polynesian.

Image courtesy of Tibur Rivero

Some might just choose a place on their body that is visually appealing, but for others, like Rivero, there is a superstition for the placement.

“I chose my whole left arm because I play baseball and I throw with my right arm, so it’s kind of a superstition of mine to not have anything on my right arm,” Rivero said.

Baseball: Caleb Pendleton, Catcher

What began as a joke eventually turned into reality for Pendleton.

Pendleton’s bicep tattoo has “Exodus 20:15,” which correlates to the Bible verse  “Thou shall not steal,” tattooed on him. He knew it would be a good tattoo considering his job is to throw people out on the bases.

Image courtesy of Caleb Pendleton

All his tattoos are Bible verses, reminding him that God gave him the ability to play baseball.

Baseball: Dylan Goldstein, Outfielder

Goldstein has three tattoos and each one has a lot of significance behind it.

While each one of his tattoos means something different to him, he is getting another shortly in honor of his late friend. 

“I am getting my friend’s initials with a dove and roses around it soon,” Goldstein said. “This is a different meaning from my other tattoos, as this is closer and more personal to me.”

Image courtesy of Dylan Goldstein

He has a tattoo of his father’s birthday and a wolf that represents leadership, loyalty, and the value of loved ones. 

The eye he has on his bicep represents what he believes to be the most beautiful thing, the idea that “every person’s eyes have many stories and experiences that they have seen,” said Goldstein.

Women’s Basketball: Juliette Gauthier, Guard

Although she got her first tattoo at 18, Gauthier has tallied up 11 tattoos since. She said once she started, she couldn’t stop.

Image courtesy of Juliette Gauthier

Out of all her tattoos, her favorite is the matching one she got with her brother. On her inner right wrist is a phrase in Japanese that only she and her brother understand.

“When we were younger, we would call each other names, but my mom was like ‘don’t call him that, call him another word,’ and I just said a random word, and it always stuck with us since. It was something that only my brother and I understood,” said Gauthier.

Cheerleading: Caroline Zuluaga

While Zuluaga has a total of seven tattoos, her most heartfelt and meaningful one is in honor of her late grandmother.

Image courtesy of Caroline Zuluaga

Zuluaga and her grandmother had a special bond because of how close they were. On her inner left arm are the coordinates of where her grandmother was buried.

“She meant the world to me and it represents that she is always with me,” Zuluaga said. 

Cheerleading: Terri Lawson

Lawson’s favorite tattoo is of a lotus flower. Though she has two lotus flowers, her favorite one is on her hip.

She had always wanted a hip tattoo and when she saw a Facebook post with small tattoo ideas, magic struck. It symbolizes her growth and development.

“Lotus flowers are known for growing in muddy environments and I see myself as that type of flower because I grew up from the environment I was surrounded by,” Lawson said.

Editor’s Note: This story is a part of our December/January issue titled “Unfinished Business,” which you can pick up on campus or read online here.

Gianna Alberti is a contributing writer at the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email her at [email protected]