Photo by Nathan T. Gross
Faith has always come first for Britta Hall. It has taken her on a journey through adversity and prosperity spanning two continents and ultimately landed her on the UVU women’s basketball team.
In middle school, when virtually every other competitive player joined a travel basketball team—the customary route to the high school and collegiate level—Hall was faced with the dilemma of whether to join and play on Sundays or remain true to her beliefs. When she told the coaches of her decision not to play Sunday games they dismissed her from the tryout.
“In a sense it felt like a punishment,” Hall said. “But my whole life I had the faith that if I worked the hardest and kept my religious commitments, God would bless me.”
While playing for her high school team, Hall had a goal of playing college ball. She even came to Orem to take part in a camp at UVU and loved the idea of playing for the Wolverines. As her senior year arrived, though, Hall was drawing little interest from schools until her coach made some calls and put her in contact with the coaches from San José State University. Hall committed and competed her freshman year for the Spartans, playing in every game that season and setting the freshman record for 3-pointers made with 43.
Despite the outstanding season, Hall felt something was missing and decided she needed to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In a meeting with her coach at the end of the season, she broke into tears, fearing her scholarship would not be held. To Hall’s surprise, things seemed to be working out once again.
“She told me that God was proud of me and the decisions I was making. That she knew it would help me become a better person and that she would keep my scholarship for two years,” said Hall. “It was a big blessing and definitely one that I wasn’t expecting.”
Other than homesickness and struggles learning Spanish in the beginning of her 18-month mission to Rancagua, Chile, she felt peace teaching the Chilean people her beliefs. It wasn’t until she questioned whether she would return to play basketball that the mission felt like a mistake for a short period.
“I had thoughts of self-doubt, like, how can I go back and compete at a collegiate level again?” said Hall. “Why am I here if my whole life goal has been to play basketball in college and now I feel like I shouldn’t play?”
This time, Hall’s dad comforted her, suggesting the mission would make her a better basketball player. But a change of venue was needed if after her mission she was to play college ball again. So, after searching for a new school where she felt more comfortable, Hall ended up at UVU.
“It was kind of a coincidence,” Hall said, “that in a roundabout, detoured way, I landed back at the school I wanted to go to originally, so that was pretty cool.”
Now at UVU, Hall feels she is where she needs to be. Her sophomore season has been interrupted with a concussion and a broken hand, but she contributes a calming sense to a young team.
“I think the experiences from my mission have helped me in that sense to see the big picture of it all,” Hall said. “I honestly think of it as a learning experience. It can be hard sometimes…but that’s when we come together and grow.”
Ty Bianucci is a life-long fan of the San Francisco Giants, 49ers and Golden State Warriors who started on the sports beat for The Review, but now contributes investigative stories. He, along with two of his colleagues, were awarded the Sunshine Award in 2018 by the Society of Professional Journalists.