A Story of Persistence, Perseverance and Overcoming
Amber Nall is not afraid to take on challenges. She’s faced them her entire life.
Her deafness was discovered at 18 months of age, at a time when hearing tests and medical advancements weren’t as readily available as they are today. Her doctor and parents suspect that she was born deaf, but with no family history and a healthy pregnancy, Nall knows that it was simply God’s plan.
“I see my deafness as a blessing, because I never lost my hearing,” Nall said. “My deafness is one of my strengths.”
Growing up, Nall worked hard to dispel any assumptions that people might have about the deaf community. She used the doubt of others to motivate herself.
“Many people still don’t realize that a deaf person can do everything they can do, except hear,” Nall said.
A realization that has helped Nall throughout her life and one that gave her the confidence eventually to not only dream big, but work to make her biggest dream become a reality. Her dream was to sign the National Anthem at a Texas Rangers game and it was one rooted in childhood memories from attending games with her family.
There isn’t any doubt that Nall herself could have and would have worked to make the opportunity happen, but teamwork makes the dreamwork. Her husband, Shane Nall, was also instrumental in the process.
He learned of her dream early on in their relationship and Shane became her dream keeper. Together they attempted to line things up with the Rangers organization in 2020, but as quickly as it started to come together, the Covid pandemic shut it down.
Years passed, the world returned to normal, but in January 2023 Shane decided to post on Facebook in hopes of connecting his bride back to the Texas Rangers’ organization. The post went viral. Comments and shares led to connections with all the right people.
That month, Shane received a message via Facebook messenger from the Texas Rangers asking for his phone number. On the call, he shared his wife’s dream with Chuck Morgan, the voice of the Texas Rangers, who proposed that Amber sign not one, but two songs on opening day alongside The Texas Tenors. Nall was shocked and grateful.
Once Nall had the confirmation that it was actually going to happen, her ‘work brain’ took over and she started to practice. All. The. Time. At home, she made posters, watched videos of The Texas Tenors, perfected her interpretation of the songs, and practiced with her family. She videoed practices, so they could be critiqued and spent countless hours with her interpreters, Tiffany Martinez, who she had worked with and alongside in Deaf Education since 2014 and her sister, Kirsten Martinez.
“Every dream is worth working hard for,” Nall said.
As the time of her performance neared, the nerves and excitement began to escalate and at the last ‘in person practice’, the day before the big game, the grandness of what she was about to accomplish hit Nall.
The what ifs started to creep in. Nall remembers wondering how she was going to sleep. What if Tiffany (her interpreter traveling to the game with her) didn’t show up? What if she signed the wrong sign? Thoughts were swirling, the night passed quickly and before she knew it, everyone was arriving at Globe Life Park.
The atmosphere was electric. Nall recalls feeling small while knowing she was doing something huge.
“It was intimidating walking onto the field with over 35,000 people in attendance,” Nall said. “I wanted to make my family proud and inspire people in the deaf community to know that there is no dream too big or too small.”
The Texas Tenors began to sing the National Anthem and as soon as ‘Oh say can you see’ was signed by Nall, she was in the zone and her nerves were gone. Nall was very thankful that Martinez, her interpreter, was there because she couldn’t hear any of the singing, only the crowd.
During the performance, Nall anticipated her nine-year-old daughter, Avery, would be in the crowd screaming and waving, but was told that she just watched and cried while sitting with her Dad. Both were incredibly proud of their mom and wife and Shane knew the inner workings of the moment, which made it even more special.
The remainder of the night was as incredible and exciting as it started. Her second performance, ‘God Bless the USA’ went off without a hitch and Nall knew the entire experience would forever be etched in her mind.
What she never imagined was the impact that it would have on the community around her.
Upon her return, her students at Abilene Independent School District were in complete awe that their teacher was able to do something like that on such a visible level. Her family, Shane and Avery, were bursting with pride for Nall’s bravery and courage. And as for Nall, she was grateful to show the deaf community that she was able to make her dreams come true and inspire each of them to go after what they want.
“We don’t let our deafness define who we are,” Nall said regarding those she works with each day. “We have the ability to inspire people.”
And inspire people, she did.
By Nicole Fletcher
Photos By Shayli Anne Photography