Athlete, Appreciate A Bigger Hall of Fame


Athlete, Appreciate A Bigger Hall of Fame

Jonathan Van Horn

Hebrews 12:1 (ESV)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us …

Sitting on the wooden bench, tears filled my eyes — not of sorrow, but of awe at what I was witnessing.

The notes were piercing the stillness of the southern afternoon sun. As the bugler completed “Taps,” there was an eerie silence that hushed the wildlife, the wind, the earth in that moment. Tears fell down my cheek; I couldn’t keep them inside any longer.

Those notes have been played millions of times through the years, but in that moment, it was as if it were for the first time. A sense of awe at the confidence, passion and beauty of the music overwhelmed me. In those brief moments, I experienced the honoring of my grandfather like I hadn’t before. Even now, tears fill my eyes as I remember that moment.

In sport, we pay our respects and give honor to those who have come before us. Cooperstown, Canton and Springfield are the locations of various halls of fame where we honor those who battled, bled, sweat and competed. Their names, jerseys, records and accomplishments emblazon the walls like melodic notes filling our ears with awe over what they’ve done.

As athletes we stand on the shoulders of so many before us, and the halls of fame are opportunities to honor them and the beauty they displayed in sport and competition.

The author of Hebrews shares a biblical hall of fame that displays the great faith of those who lived on this earth long ago. We now stand on their spiritual shoulders. Hebrews 11-12 gives them honor and respect for their actions and faith, and paints a picture of them now watching from the stands, cheering us on to great faith in God.

Athlete, how well are you honoring those who have come before you? Whose shoulders are you standing on spiritually? Who will you allow to stand on your spiritual shoulders?

Jonathan Van Horn is author of “SHIFT: The Athlete’s Playbook 5 Proven Steps to Life After Sport.” He assists athletes through successful transitions in sport and life. You can hear stories and learn more about SHIFT on The SHIFT Podcast on iTunes and Spotify as well as online at


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