Being ill, of course, automatically lends itself to feeling The Melancholy. But I was also saddened by this news.
I knew Todd Christensen slightly. We'd bump into each other in the Richards P.E. Building on campus sometimes, and because he liked to chat and wasn't shy, we'd chat. Or at least he would chat and I'd listen. I can still remember the time he told me he wasn't sure how much my dad actually knew about football. Oddly, I didn't take offense. I'd already heard that Todd was his own kind of guy, and because there didn't seem to be any malice in his statement, I just let it slide.
I can still see him, his wet hair combed and slicked against his head with an almost military-like precision. And there were always a load of books under one arm--books I was pretty sure he'd actually read. Not to trade in stereotypes or anything, but I knew he wasn't one of those guys my dad would lock up in his office until that player got his homework done in order to maintain eligibility. Todd cared about school.
Anyway. It doesn't seem like that long ago I watched him play in the early days of my father's career as a head coach--tough and wild and full of hope for his future. It was a pleasure to watch him in action.
RIP, Todd Christensen.