Hodges overcomes obstacles, conquers on the links

[Lauren Shelburne | The Banner]

Performing well as a student-athlete requires motivation, patience and hard work, especially when it comes to the sport of golf.

Kendel Hodges, freshman business administration major, executes this task with grace despite the adversity he has battled from birth.

In June 2015, PGA of America created a video titled “Impacting Lives Through Golf on CBS” in which they featured Hodges and his story.

The video conducted interviews with Hodges, his mother Chrisanya, his father Mikel and Steve Adamiak, PGA teaching professional and Hodges’ swing coach.

At 20 months old, Hodges’ parents noticed a bump on his lower left leg and decided to take action to remove it. Post-surgery, Chrisanya Hodges received a phone call from the doctor with harrowing news.

“The surgeon called to check on Kendel, he got really quiet and said, ‘Well mom, I don’t know how to tell you this, but we got the pathology back and it’s cancer,’ and he was on the other line crying,” Chrisanya Hodges said in the video.

Hodges was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer, but that did not prevent him from living out his love for basketball. However, after his 9th birthday, he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, which limited him to minimal physical activity. That was when Hodges picked up golf.

“Right when I touched a golf club, I knew it was something I really wanted to do,” Hodges said in the video. “Something kind of clicked. I really like this, something about this game is different.”

Hodges excelled at the sport with the help of Adamiak, who not only was a swing coach and golf coach, but a life coach to the athlete. Hodges’ success was recognized and he was recruited by California Baptist University.

TL Brown, head coach of the men’s golf team, noticed his work ethic and capabilities during his first couple months on the team.

“Kendel is a quick learner and responds to positive motivation and coaching to make quick changes,” Brown said. “He’s not scared to have a big influence in the leadership at a young age. He could play No. 1 for us this year and there’s not a lot of freshmen who could
do that.”

According to Greg Gonzalez, junior kinesiology major and fellow member of the golf team, Hodges impacts the team with his upbeat manner.

“I immediately thought Kendel was a competitor with a good sense of humor,” Gonzalez said in the video. “He is a great player and teammate who knows how to get everybody hyped and an even better
person.”

Hodges said he realized that if he can beat cancer, he can get through anything, giving him an extra push. There was a time when he did not know if he would see the next day, and said golf did save his life.

Hodges helped close out the fall season in the McDonough Cup at Rollins College Nov 1. Hodges completed the tournament improving  by nine strokes from Rounds 2 to 3, as he put up a 76 on the day and finished with an overall 236 (75-85-76).

About Olivia Quebe

Asst. News Editor

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