Rugby captain leads on and off the pitch

Chris Dye is a leader, captain, and above all, a friend. Dye recently shared his story at the Gathering, and despite his talents, he too always has a need for God.

“We’re called to surrender to the Lord every day, and by doing this, we acknowledge the desire to know God and to trust Him for what He’s done for us,” he said.

As seen, Dye affirms that he is in the continuous practice of surrendering to the Lord. Dye is John Brown University’s men’s rugby captain, and if you ask his teammates, they will say he is a living example of this Christlikeness.

“He leads with a servant’s heart,” teammate Ethan Tradup, who has known Dye since the beginning of this school year, said. “Everything that he has us doing, he does right along with us.”

“He’s very team-oriented,” teammate Caleb LaBelle said. “He isn’t selfish at all.”

Given his selfless demeanor, if one looks at his upbringing, it almost appears as if Dye was destined to exemplify such generosity through rugby.

Dye was born in South Carolina on Oct. 18, 1993. When he was eight months old, he moved to Kenya with his parents, who were pursuing careers as missionaries abroad. Dye explained that his family and his geographic location contributed to his love for the game.

“I started playing rugby in eighth grade because our school offered it as an under-15 sport to get us interested in high school rugby,” he said. “But I first got interested in rugby because my dad played rugby in high school and in college. He taught us the basics; he not only showed us the rules of rugby but also gave us the love of rugby.”

Dye’s teammates also pointed out his outgoing, upbeat personality that they all love. Dye, who is fully aware of his own cadence, said that such a trait comes straight from his homeland.

“I have to attribute a lot of my personality to the Kenyan people and culture,” he explained. “Kenya is a very joyful and content culture. They’re also very interested and excited to get to know and help other people.”

In 2011, Dye crossed the Atlantic to attend college here at the University. He described the transition from Kenya to Siloam Springs as a difficult one, but one thing that his new home had in common was rugby.

“I think [my time here] would look a lot different for me if rugby wasn’t here and the joy I’ve experienced through it wasn’t here,” he said.

Dye, now a fifth-year senior, will complete his ninth semester of playing rugby at the University when he graduates this December. The last four of those semesters have been spent as the club’s captain, an office his teammates say he holds extremely well.

“I was just impressed by him and by how naturally he fit into the leadership role,” Eric Seevers, a teammate who began playing rugby at the time Dye began as captain, said. “He was always great at explaining things and bringing in the new guys like me.”

Since taking on the role of captain, the men’s rugby club has continued to go to nationals as they have in the past. Dye said that in his time leading the team, he has tried to approach the game in a fun-loving way.

“I’ve tried to make it creative and fun, but with that, we also have to take it seriously and have the right mentality,” he said. “I’ve seen guys pick up the game quicker than I ever have in my time at JBU. That’s really encouraging for me as a captain, because it says that the training is working and the knowledge is sticking with the new guys.”

While he is well-known for rugby, Dye’s influence carries onto campus as well.

“He’s a lot of fun; just a cool guy to be around,” LaBelle said. “But I also like him because he’s able to go to a deeper level with people. He’s just a great blessing to everyone he interacts with.”

“He’s just an awesome leader on the field, definitely, but on campus too,” Seevers said. “People really look up to him and support him.”

As he will soon move on to life after graduation, Dye is appreciative of his time here at the University.

“I look back at my time here at JBU, and I realize that there’s so much that’s happened that I’m thankful for here,” he said. “It’s gonna be hard to leave… Really, it’s just trusting that the Lord is going to take care of things as I go on.”