But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
When I think of Coach Rush, I think of this scripture passage. She walked in the Spirit. She exemplified each of these fruits of the Holy Spirit. She walked, talked, and lived with grit, grace and gratitude.
Who else could have taken a rag tag group of girls and led them to an historic collegiate national championship in women's soccer. A championship that came on the heels of a landmark federal civil rights law dictating equality in sports. The ramifications of Title IX were just beginning to seep into sports in rural upstate New York. Could the bookmakers in Vegas have predicted this journey from a SUNY school club team to one that grew to dominate women's soccer on the east coast and then against all odds emerged as a national champion in the Rocky Mountains?
This Cinderella story holds special meaning for a diverse group of women who were characters with character. The common thread that runs through the story ties back to the special lady who coached us, guided us, mentored us, and loved us—Momma Rush. Collectively, we, her former players, will forever be grateful and indebted to Coach for what she gave us and modeled for us.
Her work ethic was exceptional.
Although soccer was not "her sport", she worked hard, asked questions, and learned as much as she could to prepare herself to coach the team with confidence. The harder she worked, the harder we worked for her. We respected and appreciated her efforts.
Through her patience and understanding she helped us grow from individuals to forever sisters of soccer. We respected and appreciated this.
She had a great deal of integrity and high standards. You were expected to be at practice and on time. You were expected to keep up with academics and positively represent the college and the team at all times. We respected and appreciated these expectations…..
Some of us respect them more and appreciate them more later in life. Some of us……. The names will be omitted to protect the guilty…. didn't always make the best decisions while in college.
It was not unusual for Coach to have a side conversation, a counseling session, or a chalk talk on life with any one of us.
And yes, it was through those sessions, …. all of them, that I saw Coach Rush put the fruits of the Holy Spirit into action. She was peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled.
Maya Angelo once said-
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget the way you made them feel.”
We may not remember all the X's and O's, the Z shots on goals, the game scores and the win loss records. We hope people don't remember some of the shenanigans. But, I can guarantee you, there is not a person who met, knew, learned from, or played for Anna Rush that will forget how she made them feel.
Coach, thank you for the seasons of love!