WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. — A high school student from Kentucky recently passed up an opportunity to participate in the regional cross country championships after she was assigned 666 as her bib number.
Junior Codie Thacker attends Whitley County High School in Williamsburg. She states that she has prepared since June to participate in the regional championships, but laid it all down when faced with the choice of keeping her number or honoring God.
Her coach, Gina Croley, told reporters that when she discovered that the number 666 had been assigned to Thacker, she knew that Thacker wouldn’t wear it. Croley was right.
“It’s the mark of the beast; that’s what the Bible says,” Thacker told television station WLEX-TV, referring to the citation in Revelation 13:18.
Croley thought that the situation could be rectified quickly simply by assigning another number to the student.
“I’m very sure that the number was computer generated,” she told WYMT-TV. “I don’t think it was any type of, you know, ‘Let’s give somebody this number,’ but when it was brought to their attention, I feel like if it were possible, it could have been changed.”
However, when both Croley and Thacker approached officials in hopes of obtaining a new bib number, they were denied. After failed attempts to have the number changed via three separate officials, Thacker decided to drop out of the race.
“I told them to mark out my name because it makes me sick just thinking that my name is associated with that number,” she said.
Thacker also stated that she didn’t feel it would be right to sport the number as a Christian.
“I didn’t want to risk my relationship with God and try to take that number,” she advised.
But there remains disagreement between the Kentucky High School Athletic Association and Thacker in regard to the request. Association officials state that they did not know that Thacker’s desire for a new number was associated with her religious beliefs, or they would have honored the request. However, Thacker states that she and Croley were clear about why she could not wear 666 on her bib.
Nonetheless, Thacker says that she believes she made the right decision and would do it again if faced with the same choice.
“[O]f course I was upset, because I’d trained all season for it,” she said. “But in another sense, I stood up for my beliefs and I stood up for God.”
Coach Croley agreed.
“I wouldn’t have been more [pleased with] her if she won the entire meet,” she told reporters. “She stood on her principles; she stood for what she believed in.”
While some have remarked that they found the issue to be trivial, others have been supportive of Thacker’s decision.