With a heavy heart, Kristen Hahn clutched a Sharpie and began scribbling on her shoes.
On the former Kennedy volleyball standout turned Iowa State star’s right shoe, she inscribed the words, “Just Drew it.”
On the other, she wrote simply initials: “DW.”
Those upper-case letters, of course, stood for Drew Wall, the courageous Cougar golfer who passed away Nov. 26 after a five-year bout with cancer.
He was 16.
Hahn was preparing for a first-round NCAA Tournament game in Ames.
“I started reading a lot more of his story and making sure that (Kennedy volleyball coach Michelle) Goodall knew how much he was an inspiration, and not just to all the kids at the University if Iowa Hospitals, but even to people like me,” said Hahn, a two-time Big 12 libero of the year who faces Stanford in the Sweet 16 Friday in Berkeley, Calif. “I’ve shared his story now with a lot of other people. I think it needs to be known. Everyone should know that this kid was amazing.”
That became apparent when Goodall — Wall’s aunt — tearfully told her team about her nephew’s bone cancer five years ago.
Never a victim, Wall lived life to the fullest, returning to golfing on a prosthetic leg and inspiring others both with actions and beyond-his-years wisdom.
“He had so much courage,” Hahn said. “Reading his CaringBridge posts every day was so inspirational. He was just so driven and optimistic. And Michelle was always so close with him and looked out for him. I just think if he can have that much determination and drive and provide so much inspiration, especially to me, that I can play the last few games and the rest of my career thinking about that determination and that courage.”
And Wall’s enduring message — spelled out in three words, which form one profound creed.“If I can play every single day living in the moment like he did, I’ll never regret anything,” Hahn said. “I know that he didn’t either.”