Six Pepperdine athletes from five different sports show their tattoos. These tattoos represent everything from words to live by, to family members who have died. Photos provided by sources
Tattoos can be a way for people to showcase the most important aspects of who they are as people and where they come from.
Six Pepperdine athletes said they represent the most important aspects of their lives with permanent tattoos.
“You can get a painting and have it on your house somewhere, but being able to put something permanent on your body is showing beauty,” Men’s Water Polo junior center Travis Reynolds said.
Matt Quintanar – Baseball
The date June 13 is particularly important to Quintanar, he said as he pointed to the tattoo on his forearm.
“[June 13] is my sister’s birthday. She shares the same birthday with my dad, and she passed away my freshman year of high school,” Quintanar said. “I cared very much for her and would do anything to talk to her again.”
For Quintanar, he said he views his sister as an inspiration.
“[I looked up to her] trying to become a good college student,” Quintanar said. “She was a social worker at a hospital. She had gone to school for five years and got her Master’s and also had two kids, who live with us now.”
Quintanar said his favorite memory with his sister was during Thanksgiving.
“We would always play Apples to Apples with my family. We would always cheat together and swap cards so that one of us could win,” Quintanar said.
The date June 13 is also the birthday of his father, Marco Quintanar.
“[My father] is a blue-collar man, hardworking and provides for his family.” Quintanar said.” He’s always there for us. My favorite memory was when he would coach me for baseball, ”
Jaylen Jasper – Men’s Volleyball
Jasper said he technically has a biological child in the world.
After his sophomore year at Stanford, Jasper decided to help create life through a sperm donation.
“Right after I turned 21, I was asked for my sperm by a couple that could not have one on their own,” Jasper said. “In a direct donation to one couple, I donated, and I wanted to get something to symbolize that.”
To represent the life he helped create, Jasper said he chose a manta ray.
“Ever since [the donation] manta rays are my favorite animal, and they give birth to one or two pups at a time,” Jasper said. “This was one of the closest things I could get to sperm cell, without it being obvious.”
For Jasper, he said the tattoo is also a reminder that his donation may have long-lasting effects.
“I did put it in the contract that the child is allowed to reach out to me,” Jasper said. “It is a reminder that one day I will meet a little me. I am excited for it, also kind of scared, but I think it will be an amazing day. I can feel it already.”
The couple paid Jasper a sum of $25,000, Jasper said.
“Tattoos were the first thing I got,” Jasper said. “I bought myself a nice designer wallet, I got my dogs, I made some updates to my car, I completely changed my wardrobe — which was an identity shift.”
Jasper said the money also changed his outlook on life.
“It really gave me a chance of financial responsibility,” Jasper said. “It put a lot in perspective — how hard my parents work and how hard I will have to work. The material things I could buy were nice, but the lessons I learned from that were more. valuable.”
Alongside the manta ray, Jasper wears a handful of tattoos from different aspects of his life.
“I got a palm tree once I realized California is where I want to be. I got Stanford tattooed after I graduated. I got a tattoo of Maryland where I am from, I got a tattoo of Waves for when we won the MSPF tournament and I got my dog tags,” Jasper said.
Jasper said he also is not done yet.
“My younger brother got a heart transplant right after he started high school, and he had a huge scar down his chest. I was thinking about getting white ink, something that looks similar because that is something he is self-conscious about,” Jasper said as he pointed to his chest.
Isabel Montoya – Women’s Basketball
Saint Jude is known for his association with lost causes. The ruler of Edessa was given a painful disease, according to Catholic News Agency. The disease was considered to be incurable until Saint Jude put his hands on Abgar, instantly healing him.
Montoya said she got a tattoo of Saint Jude for her father during her first year of college.
“My dad had a rough childhood. He had abandonment stuff going on,” Montoya said. “He thought [his name] was a covenant for him that he is a lost cause, and I wear him on my skin everyday, so when people ask about him, he gets recognized that he is not abandoned.”
Montoya said her father Jude is especially meaningful to her.
“My dad didn’t know much about basketball, but when I told him I wanted to play, he started studying it 24/7,” Montoya said. “He probably knows more than me because he studies it so much. To me, that means the world.”
Beyond paying homage to her father, Montoya said she has tattoos for all those she knows who have died.
“I have three tattoos for multiple friends that have passed away. It is a cool deal when people ask about them; it is like they are still alive. I get to tell their story,” Montoya said.
Montoya said the deaths she has experienced in life have also led her to get a tattoo for herself.
“I have a Día De Los Muertos skull on the back of my leg that is mostly for me,” Montoya said. “I have been around death so much; the skull celebrates my establishment and the deaths, so they are not negative.”
Montoya said she plans on getting more meaningful artwork done in the future.
“I plan on getting a tattoo of the creation of Eve with my great grandmother’s hand and my hand to show the strength in the generations of females in our family,” Montoya said.
Travis Reynolds – Water Polo
The Polynesian actor Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson and the importance of family inspired Reynolds to get his tattoo.
“Ever since I saw the Rock when I was little, I thought [a tribal tattoo] was the sickest thing ever,” Reynolds said. “I love the Polynesian culture and how rooted in family it is. That is close to my own beliefs. I love my family — family is a big part of my life.”
Reynolds said he worked very closely with his artist, El, in order to find the right design in September 2020.
“We put together our minds for a good two to three months brainstorming what we could do,” Reynolds said. “We found all these Norse ruins and different symbols from different parts of Scandanavia.”
Reynolds said he highlighted three of those symbols on his tribal tattoo.
“I have the Celtic Trinity because faith is very important to me,” Reynolds said. “I have the Helm of Awe, which is the symbol of warrior and protection because I have always been the defender of my family and my friends. I recently got Oden’s Raven, which is the watcher of everything.”
Reynolds said the most important aspect of his tattoo is family.
“The thing about my family which I love is that, before we are there for us, we are there for other people. Even if we are going through things, we would rather help someone else than help ourselves,” Reynolds said. “That is what I have always loved about how my parents raised me. Having that symbol of my family and that little story of me on myself is awesome.”
Taylor Rath – Women’s Soccer
Kaizen is a Japanese concept for self-improvement that focuses on the ideas of avoiding complacency and looking for ways to improve your situation.
For Rath, she said this is an idea she tries to live by.
“Every time I look down at my arm, it’s a reminder that it’s just me versus me,” Rath said. “I’m just incrementally getting one percent better than yesterday, and that is what is going to lead to excellence.”
Rath said self-improvement proved to be vital as she came back from a discoid radial lateral meniscus tear.
“Following physical therapy, doctors and everything that I am asked is the reason I came back at the time I did,” Rath said. “If I didn’t focus on myself, if I didn’t stay in the gym every day, I would not be cleared right now. I know that hard work always pays off.”
On her left arm, Rath showcases the words “perspective” and “gratitude” in black ink.
“Being told I have an interesting perspective — and I have a great perspective — it was like, this is a sign,” Rath said.
Rath said that part of her perspective on life is gratitude.
“I have gratitude on my arm because it is not only a reminder to be thankful but also a reminder to practice being thankful and reminding other people how grateful we are to even have the opportunity to go to Pepperdine,” Rath said.
Hunter Jansen – Baseball
After his uncle passed in 2020, Jansen said he got a tattoo of his uncle’s initials and the cross on his bicep and a tattoo of the day his uncle died on his wrist.
Jansen’s uncle Justin played a major role in his life, Jansen said.
“He was the best. He walked in the room, and the room lit up with excitement and laughter. He was a funny guy and a great guy, and he was like a second dad,” Jansen said.
Jansen said most of his favorite memories were whenever his uncle would come watch him play.
“He would always support me around baseball games. He would have loved to see me at Pepperdine,” Jansen said. “It’s a three and a half, four-hour drive, but he would have made it to every single game, probably all of our away games too.”
In addition to watching him play, Jansen said his uncle would have also loved to see the other tattoos he has.
“I have a joker that is a wild card and supposed to bring good luck, I have an ace of spades that is supposed to bring ambition, power and help me push through things, and a king of hearts, which is supposed to bring good vibes,” Jansen said. “[Justin] would have loved to see them on me.”
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