June 14, 2006
AMES, Iowa – Cris Love, who lettered at quarterback for Iowa State in 2003 and 2004, died Wednesday at the North Austin Medical Center in Austin after a short battle with cancer. The native of Round Rock, Texas, was 24 years old. Funeral arrangements are pending.
“This is devastating for the Iowa State family,” Iowa State head football coach Dan McCarney said. “It is hard to believe that someone of Cris’ personal stature could be taken from us way before his time. Cris leaves an army of friends and family who take with them great memories of this special man that will last the rest of their lives. More than anyone, Cris was an example of selflessness and the epitome of a team player. I have often told our players that ‘if you forget yourself, you won’t be forgotten.’ No one in my 30 years of coaching personifies that philosophy more than Cris Love.”
Love earned a bachelor’s degree in health and human performance from Iowa State in 2005. He had just started a career in Texas as a small business sales associate at Dell, Inc.
“He loved the game of football,” Iowa State passing game and quarterbacks coach Todd Fitch said. “He knew his role on the team and helped us so many ways on the field and off the field. It was Cris, as a fifth-year senior in 2004, who helped both Austin Flynn and Bret Meyer as they coped with sharing playing time at quarterback that fall. He was the perfect person to do that even though he himself was not seeing action.”Love played in 17 games from 2001-2004 and started the Texas game in the 2003 season. A member of three bowl teams, he hit on 50-of-104 passes for 667 yards and five touchdowns in his career. Love came off the bench when Seneca Wallace was injured in the first half of the 2002 Humanitarian Bowl, completing 2-of-4 passes for 23 yards in the first half.
“Cris was a Texan to the ‘T’, former ISU wide receiver Jack Whitver said. “From his hat to his belt buckle to his boots. He was never going to take it easy. We were just with him at the Houston Bowl and had a great time down there.”
Former ISU co-captain Luke Vander Sanden was also at the Houston Bowl with Love. “He had a great sense of humor which made him fun to be around,” Vander Sanden said. “He was like no other person I have met. I was lucky to be his teammate.”
“I never heard him complain about anything,” said former teammate Kyle Knock. “He would do anything to make the team better and was an upbeat guy. He was a great guy to others, including my wife Sarah. He got to know my whole family.”
He is survived by his father, Cris Love Sr., his mother Melynda and a sister Chelsea. Iowa State will have additional comment and information as details are made available.
That was the article released by the athletic department that told of how Chris died back in 2006. What made me remember this? On Mon. 5/23/11, it was Chris’s birthday. He would have turned 29 that day. Instead he died at the age of 24. He was robbed of so much.
I never had the privilege of playing on the field with Chris. My career at Iowa State ended one season prior to Chris’s coming to Iowa State. I did however, stay very involved with the team. I would come to practices regularly and I got to know Chris very well. I considered him a good friend. He had good athletic talent and he was a pretty fair quarterback, but it is the person that he was that was so extraordinary about him.
Chris spent most of his career on the bench, but he never got jaded over that as so many athletes today would. He did not seek a transfer to another school. If he had, he probably would have seen a lot more time on the field. He honored the commitment he had made to his school. He loved Iowa State. He loved it almost as much as the great state of Texas that he hailed from.
He studied the game and was always ready to go. This was put on display in the Humanitarian Bowl in 2002. Seneca Wallace got hurt and Chris came in off the sidelines and the offense did not miss a beat. In 2003, he was able to start his only game of his career against Texas. This was very fitting considering where he came from. As he was rolling into is senior year, when most QB finally get their chance to be a full-time starter after putting in their dues, there were two younger QBs, Austin Flynn and Bret Meyer were splitting time at QB. Left out of the mix was Chris. It would have been so easy for Chris to have become angry and frustrated at that and to have quit or at least checked out mentally. He did not. He chose the harder, more noble path. He chose to put aside his own personal glory and he dug in and worked as hard as he could to make both Austin and Bret the best QBs they could be. He shared all the knowledge he had learned over his years with them. He put everything he had into practice to push those two to be the best QBs they could be. Through his sacrifice, the Cyclones had a very successful season and Chris ended his career in the Independence Bowl earning Iowa State its second win in a bowl game in its school history in a victory over Miami (Ohio). I mean this is the kind of stuff movies are made of.
After Chris left Iowa State, I did not really keep in touch with him. I did see him briefly while tailgating outside Reliant Stadium prior to the 2005 Houston Bowl in which Iowa State took on TCU. I only spoke with him briefly, and I don’t really remember much of what we talked about, but what sticks clearly in my mind was his smile and how much he loved life. He was absolutely thrilled to be alive. I did not think anything of it at the time, but that was the last time I ever saw Chris. Funny how we never know when those moments will be.
I went on with my life as usual. Then in the beginning of June of 2006, I heard some news that just absolutely floored me. Chris had developed a severe malignant form of cancer. It comes on strong and attacks all of the internal organs. It was a matter of 6 weeks between the time Chris found out he had cancer to the time he died. How could this be? It was so sudden. He was so strong. He was an ex college football player just going into the prime of his life.
Chris never got to get married. He never had the chance to be a father. He never had the chance to grow old. It just seems so unfair. It makes you want to question a God who would take a person before it is their time or I should say, what we think their time should be. Why God?
At the time of Chris’s death, I did not have a close relationship with God so I really did not understand how a God who was supposedly so loving, could allow such a horrible thing to happen. For that matter, a loving God who could allow so many bad things to happen in our world.
Since then, I have made the decision to step over the faith line, and while I certainly do not have all the answers, I have progressed in my understanding of God and why things might happen. In that time, I have been exposed to a church called Prairie Lakes Church in Cedar Falls, IA. I attend that church whenever I am home and watch the sermons each week via my computer when I am in Ames. John Fuller is the senior pastor at this church and he has brought me so far in the little over a year I have listened to his sermons. On 4/17/10, John gave a sermon called Big Questions: Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People. It is one of the best sermons I have ever heard in my life and I think it can shed some light on the why question. I will be summarizing some of the major points I learned from that sermon.
We all have bad things happen to us. It is just a part of life that we are forced to go through. When it comes to bad things that happen to good people, there are three things that God doesn’t do and there are three things that God does do.
Things God Doesn’t Do:
God doesn’t try to shy away from the issue.
We as humans try to shy away from the issue, but God does not do that. When you look at the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4, we see that as soon as Cain kills his brother Abel, God confronts Cain about it. He did not shy away from the issue.
God doesn’t promise a pain-free existence.
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden of Eden by eating of the forbidden fruit, man was doomed to living a life full of sin and pain. As we see in 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 we see that when we cross the line, God does not promise a pain-free existence.
God doesn’t promise instant justice.
People want instant justice. We tend to think if there is not instant justice, that God is not working. Sometimes, the just thing takes a little longer than we want it to. Just because God is working slower than we want, it does not mean that he is not working on our behalf. The only time instant justice ever really occurs is when a person who does not accept God into their lives die and they instantly go to hell. The truth is that none of us deserve to go to heaven. It is through God’s grace and Jesus sacrifice that we are allowed entry to heaven. If we choose not to accept this grace, then we go to hell. It is instant and it is just. I think I would rather wait and be patient myself.
Things God Does Do:
God does love you.
We can’t do anything to make God love us more than he does right now. Romans 5:8 really sums it all up. God sent his son to die for us so that our sins could be forgiven and we could one day go to heaven. We didn’t do anything to deserve this kind of love. You can fight it and deny it all you want to, but it does not change the fact that God does love us that much.
God does have purpose in it.
There is a purpose in every single thing that does happen. Sometimes we can’t see what that purpose is and that frustrates us. We need to evolve to the point that we can actually take joy in our sufferings. Out of suffering comes perseverance. Out of perseverance comes character. Out of character comes hope. It is a process. Without suffering, this process can not take place and we simply do not grow as a person. Our faith does not grow nearly as much in times when things are going good. We need these tough times to really grow. This growth is necessary to move us closer to what God wants us to be. This idea is presented beautifully in 1 Peter 4:12-19.
God is good, even when news is bad.
God’s goodness is not based on our own safety. Just because someone is hurt or someone dies, it does not mean that God is not good. God is good. God is the definition of good. Who are we to question the goodness of God? The realms of God’s goodness go well beyond our own comprehension. We can be angry when bad things happen. We can become frustrated at times, but we should never question the goodness of God.
Hopefully, this helps you a little bit the way it helped me. So why did Chris die? I don’t know exactly. None of us really do. If we were all very old when we die would we really appreciate the life we have as much? When people die too young, it shows us that life can be taken at any moment so we should appreciate every second we have. I can tell you this, if Chris had not passed, I would not be discussing this subject today in this blog. Maybe someone will read this blog someday and God will strike a chord with them while they read it and their life will be saved as a result. God works in very strange ways sometimes.
To my old friend Chris I say this. You were an absolute joy to those who had the privilege of knowing you during the 24 years you were here. You touched my soul and showed me how joyful you can live your life in this very evil world. You showed me what being a Cyclone is all about. You made me laugh, you made me smile, you even made me cry. You showed me how to live; fully and without any regrets. For that I am eternally grateful. I know you are smiling up there in heaven and I can’t wait until the day I am up there smiling with you. God, thanks for Chris’s life! Thanks for letting him soar like an eagle, even if it was just for a short season.
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding. He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless. Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.”