Sunday, 18 February 2018

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The 12th Man: Believers Have a Heavenly Cheering Section

The 12th Man

Believers have a heavenly cheering section


By Skip Hall


In 1993 I was a football coach at the University of Missouri and we were a member of the Big 12 Conference. We played Texas A&M that year in College Station, Texas and I was in awe of what transpired that day at Kyle Field.

The stadium was packed and a large sign on the press box read in bold letters, “HOME OF THE 12TH MAN.” I had never seen that before. I was intrigued and interested in where that came from and later learned the history and how it came about.

As most of us know, each football team is allowed 11 players on the field and the 12th man at Kyle Field is the presence of thousands of A&M students who remain standing during the entire game to cheer and encourage their team on. As I learned, this tradition traces its roots back to 1922 when the coach called a student out of the stands to suit up and be ready to replace an injured player. Although he never entered the game, his presence on the sideline and his willingness to participate if needed greatly encouraged the team. This is a very impressive tradition at A&M.

The Seattle Seahawks sought and received permission from A&M to use the 12th Man slogan. Now it is a huge factor at all Seahawks games and is worn on shirts and sweatshirts all over the Northwest. They even fly a 12th Man flag at Seahawks games  — and the fans are the loudest in the NFL for cheering on their team. It's a big deal!

Hebrews 11 describes heroes of the faith who faced great trials and remained loyal to God. Chapter 12 states, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked before us.”

We are not alone on our faith journey. The ordinary people and the great saints who have gone before us and were loyal to the Lord encourage us by their example and by their presence in heaven. They are a “Spiritual 12th Man,” standing with us and cheering us on while we are still on the field.

As Christians, we have our own cheering section in heaven encouraging us to remain loyal and run the race with perseverance, and if we slip or fall, to get back in the race and finish strong. It's a big deal!


Skill Hall is a former head football coach at Boise State. After a successful, 30-year coaching career with BSU and other college football teams, he transferred his coaching skills to the business arena, serving in multiple leadership roles for more than 15 years with other businesses before launching his own company, Hall & Associates, a financial services firm. He is now an executive coach, senior strategist and professional speaker. He may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (208) 871-8448.


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