Travis Hall, Atlanta Falcons

by Doug Greengard

Travis Hall

Best described as a self-made player, Travis Hall of the Atlanta Falcons credits his upbringing in Kanai, Alaska (150 miles south of Anchorage) for instilling his no-nonsense work ethic. As a youngster, he chopped wood daily for the family's wood burning stove and, occasionally, would have to trudge through knee-deep snow to find fuel for the fire. Hall, six-five and nearly 300 pounds, is only the sixth native Alaskan to ever play in the NFL. The Falcons Defensive Lineman put the same mindset toward football and is known for his intensity and relentless drive. While his pursuit of football was bringing him to the top level of his sport, the same could not be said for his walk with God. Raised in a Christian home, Hall admits he lacked the spiritual focus he needed until 1995, his rookie season in the NFL. "I'd been around Christianity my whole life with my parents and my family, but I didn't really try to fully understand," said Hall, a sixth round draft choice by the Falcons who found himself a bit overwhelmed with his arrival in Atlanta. "I made a commitment to have a personal relationship with Him in 1995."

Atlanta was the perfect fit. The Falcons were-and still are-a team with strong spiritual leadership. Hall, beginning his eighth NFL season, has enjoyed the opportunity to grow in his relationship with the Lord and as a player. During his previous seven seasons, he has recorded 32 quarterback sacks. These days, Hall is tackling the word of God with the same enthusiasm and reaching out to his teammates with the good news of Jesus Christ. "A lot of times people get in their comfort zone and, perhaps, they're not where they need to be," said Hall, who saw the impact of the September terrorist attacks in New York and the opportunities to share the Gospel that resulted from them. "You try to reach out to others, but it is hard sometimes to know how to approach them. When you do make more of a conscious effort you begin to see the opportunities."

In a business that provides big rewards and places major demands, Hall has found that the promises of God, found in the Bible, put him at ease and give him peace. "It's a great business, but the pressure and expectations that are put upon you are incredible," added Hall. "You have to have strength in Christ. Lean on Him and He'll take care of you. Everything will be okay."

Except, of course, for the person who has to line up against Hall (in a football game).

Doug Greengard is the host/producer of the Christian Sports Minute, a radio feature airing on 334 stations in North America. Visit the website at www.christiansportsminute.com

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