October 26, 2009

The Importance Of Giving Back

By Breezy Rush
Special to GoHolyCross.com

A junior on the Holy Cross field hockey team, Breezy Rush has been instrumental in the Crusaders’ involvement with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. In this story, she discusses why that relationship has been so important to her.  

There is a plaque that hangs on the wall in my kitchen at home that reads, "One hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, how big my house was, or what kind of car I drove. But the world may be a little better, because I was important in the life of a child." As a child, I had glanced at it a thousand times in passing, but never really thought much of it until now. Today, I see that it describes my own childhood perfectly. It illustrates the sacrifices that my parents made so that my three brothers and I could have the best childhood possible. The main sacrifice that my father made was giving up the New York City corporate world to start his own business with my mom. This not only required my father to endure a pay cut, but also forced him to take on a second job delivering newspapers to ensure that there would be enough money to cover the cost of our mortgage. By having to work two jobs one would think that my dad would have less time for his children, but the sacrifice actually increased the attention he could give to my three brothers and me. In fact, at one point my father was the coach of nine basketball teams because my siblings and I all wanted to be on multiple teams and all wanted him as our coach. My dad's increased involvement was possible because even though my dad was working two jobs, he was able to work from home during the hours that my brothers and I slept.

With my dad at home and my mom always there for us we received the attention that Elaine Hardt urged for when she wrote, "Money doesn't buy real pleasure / It doesn't matter where you live / Children need your own attention / Something only you can give." My siblings and I were blessed with this abundance of attention and constant care that a child needs, and it has helped shape who I am today. This concept of receiving life shaping attention as a child is why, when my teammate Carolyn Connelly who graduated from Holy Cross in 2009, came to me and asked if I wanted to help initiate a relationship between the Holy Cross field hockey team and the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, I did not hesitate to accept her proposal. I wanted to be able to provide for a little girl the same kind of attention that I received, and that I think every child needs and deserves in order to develop into the person they have the potential to become.

In addition, the opportunity to get involved with the Worcester community and to be a part of the growth and development of young girls was something I have always wanted to do. I wanted to get my teammates involved because I am confident that they all have the ability to help foster the dreams and goals of young girls because the girls on my team are the strongest and most unique individuals that I have ever come in contact with. In fact, since my freshman year at Holy Cross, my teammates have actually been my own role models. While I knew that my teammates would be the best candidates for this program, each one of them made the decision on their own to get involved. Their involvement was not forced upon them by our coach and they were probably not influenced by Tiger Woods when he stated, "If you are given a chance to be a role model, I think you should always take it because you can influence a person's life in a positive light."  Instead, each one searched deep within themselves and decided they wanted to impact the life of a child. Their unanimous decision to join the program not only supported my view of them as role-models, but also reaffirmed the confidence in my decision to come to Holy Cross three years ago.  When I graduated from high school, I wanted to be a part of a college team that was not just concerned with success on the field, but also cared about the world around them. 

Our team is all about support and love, and by making this program a part of what Holy Cross field hockey represents, we have embraced the chance to make a difference in the life of a child. However, through this opportunity we are not just the teachers but also the learners. While we all joined this program with the hopes of giving back to the community and impacting a little girl, we have also been able to grow as individuals and have been impacted ourselves by the relationships we have made. Every week when we go to the Boys and Girls Club our eyes are opened to a whole new world, those of young girls who have a whole life ahead of them, who may someday be future NCAA athletes themselves. In fact, I believe the attendance of our Little Sisters at our game against Colgate on Oct. 17 helped us earn the win.  On that day, not only were we playing for the love of the game, but also for a little girl who learns by example. Therefore, the presence of our Little Sisters that day forced us, like they do every time we are with them, to be the best that we can be.