A cancer diagnosis can be a devastating roadblock in life, but that was not the case for Frostburg State's Spenser Love.
The senior attackman underwent two rounds of chemotherapy after being informed of his testicular cancer diagnosis in June 2015. Coach Tommy Pearce did not see the Winters Mill graduate as he recovered at his parents' home in Westminster, but when Love returned in the fall, he appeared considerably smaller than his listed size of 5 feet, 6 inches and 135 pounds.
"He's not the biggest guy in the world, but he had lost some weight and lost some strength," Pearce recalled. "But more than anything, he was anxious to get back into the weight room and make the most of his senior year. Spenser is one of the hardest-working, toughest guys I've ever known. So I think everybody on the team was obviously concerned, but right away, your second thought was, 'Spenser's going to beat it.' That's what you expect of Spenser, and he proved everybody right."
Indeed he did. Love led the Bobcats in assists (27) and points (61), and with 34 goals, he ran his career total to 131 to become the program's all-time goal-scoring leader. Those numbers and his prowess on game day disguised the ordeal Love, who was awarded a Medal of Inspiration Award by the Capital Athletic Conference, underwent during practice to prepare for contests.
"When he came back to school, he was still feeling the effects of chemo pretty badly in the fall," Pearce said. "He was having a lot of nausea, he was getting sick. But he's a captain, and he didn't want to miss out on anything. So he participated in every practice. He kind of had to slip off the field every now and then. A couple times, he got sick and a couple times, he had to sit on the bench and kind of gather himself. But he didn't miss a single thing all year."
Pearce said he had no reservations about starting Love in all 19 games after doctors had cleared him to play.
"They just said, 'You're going to get tired and you're going to get sick and there's times when you're just going to have to sit on the bench because you're going to get exhausted,'" Pearce recalled. "That wasn't a concern. If that had been a concern, we obviously would have taken the necessary precautions."
Love set his goals-scoring record with 4 minutes, 43 seconds left in the second quarter of an eventual 10-6 win at McDaniel in Westminster, notching his achievement before a crowd of family and friends.
"He did it at home," Pearce said. "That was pretty cool."