Hannah Wiese was a cool kid.
She was just 15, but she was spunky. She was funny. She laughed a lot, she smiled a lot and people gravitated toward that positive energy.
I talked to her maybe twice, just in passing, at sporting events and school functions. I remember joking with her at the athletic banquet about how they kept calling her name as the recipient of an award – including the prestigious Newcomer of the Year – and even though she had a torn Achilles and was on crutches, she repeatedly hobbled up to the stage for the obligatory award acceptance and photo opp.
I gasped when I saw the news on social media Sunday that Hannah had gone to be with the Lord. They must have gotten it wrong, I thought. She was just a kid. And a cool kid. Not the kind of kid who dies at age 15.
I cannot even imagine how her family and friends and loved ones feel right now. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house at Monday morning’s prayer vigil.
God bless those kids who had to sit through eight hours of classes knowing that Hannah wasn’t going to be there to make them laugh or share her lunch or show up at volleyball practice after school.
I am not a fan of covering memorial services or funerals or prayer vigils but I wanted to make sure Hannah got the kind of tribute she deserves, and attending Monday’s event was the best way for me to hear a few people say some good things about her without having to be totally invasive and show up at the family’s home.
I blew my professional cover when I teared up at just about everything that was said. The quote of the day was when Athletic Director Marshall Earnhart noted that in “country towns” like North Zulch, coaches often tell their teams to “cowboy up.”
“This year, we’re going to Hannah up,” he said. “We’re going to play like Hannah did and laugh like Hannah laughed.”
I hope that maybe we can all live our lives like that. I hope we can all Hannah up this year and treat one another with kindness.
April Towery is the sports and education editor for The Meteor. She can be reached at (936) 348-3505 or firstname.lastname@example.org.