“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
For college athletes PJ and Thayer Hall, their bond is something that is inseparable. Since childhood, PJ and Thayer, alongside oldest brother Chris, have always loved sports and the opportunity to compete. Specifically in the Hall family, height has always been a defining feature. Mom, Melanie, is 6-2 and dad, Jerome, 6-6. As their kids have grown both physically and mentally, Jerome and Melanie have watched them all grow not only as athletes, but as human beings too. As PJ and Thayer, inspired by their brother and parents, now both compete in Division 1 athletics, they also both are using their gifts as an opportunity to make an impact.
Growing up in South Carolina, both PJ and Thayer say that their faith was always a priority. For parents Jerome and Melanie, making that a foundation was pivotal in their role as parents. Mom, Melanie, says it was just taking advantage of daily things to engrain faith into who they were. “Just taking opportunities naturally as they arose in everyday life to plant seeds of faith, making it a part of their core, their go to in their problem-solving, this was my goal as a Christian mom raising children of faith.” Dad, Jerome, also reflects those words, saying faith is just a part of who they are. “As a parent, we need to provide the opportunities for our children to succeed. We have to give them the basic foundation for their faith and its growth. Our children grew up in church. These experiences, spiritually and athletically, have helped mold them into the people they are today. Each one is a daily example to me of God’s love.”
Coming out of high school, Thayer Hall was a star. Named 2018 Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year, alongside a number of other accolades to her name, Thayer would choose to continue her collegiate career at the University of Florida. Since arriving in Gainesville, Thayer says her faith has grown more than ever before. “College sports have brought many growing pains, but I am thankful for the purpose and reason of every single one. I pray the Lord continues to refine me and grow me, but I am so thankful I know that I am never alone and that He is always working for my good.” Now looking towards her senior year, Hall says faith continues to guide her each day as she takes the court. “I know that I am in no way defined by my performance or my abilities on the court. God loves me because of who He created me to be in Him, not because of an impressive stat line. Nor is He disappointed in me when I don’t have my best night. I have been blessed beyond measure with the talent, capability, and passion to play volleyball, but my purpose with that gift is not to rack up accolades, but to glorify Him win or lose every rally.”
PJ, too, was a highly recruited athlete out of high school. Ranked the #1 player in South Carolina, he garnered attention for not only his skills on the court, but his leadership and character too. After choosing Clemson, PJ also says that his faith has continued to grow over the past couple of years. “It wasn’t until I grew older and went through trials that were too tough for me that I knew I needed a stronger relationship and made an effort to grow closer to my Lord daily and always rely on him.” Now having finished his freshman season and looking towards his sophomore year for the Tigers, he says that having that relationship with God is key for him and his success. “Throughout my career, faith has shaped every aspect I have been in. Anytime I have big decisions, I pray over it and just try to listen and see signs of God leading me in the right direction. I’ve had some injuries and hardships and through those very dark times I just followed the light at the end of the time and the view from the top of the mountain is always worth the rough terrain to get to it.”
Jerome and Melanie are both so proud of who their kids have grown into today. Throughout all the trials and circumstances, their kids have consistently relied on their faith and put their trust in God. Jerome says, “All three have worked hard and been rewarded with opportunities that they have taken advantage of. Each has been able to remain strong and know that God is in control of their lives and that this platform provided to them needs to be used to glorify Him.” As their kids approach each day, Melanie too is grateful for the impact they are making and is excited to watch it continue for years to come. “I am just so thankful to God for His faithfulness as He continues to bless them and use them. I pray they continue to be willing with open hearts and minds. And if the past is a predictor of things to come, I feel pretty confident that they will always seek His will in their lives and in their children’s lives. This is my prayer.”
*Photos courtesy of the Hall Family