For Redskins coach Ron Rivera, many of the lessons he learned about how to be a good father came not just from his own dad - who served in the military and was away from the family for part of his childhood - but from his mom as well.
"I grew up in a military family, there are a lot of different things that we learned from our father and quite honesty for our mother," he told NBC Sports Washington. "My dad went to Vietnam twice and so my mom had to play both roles."
Rivera’s father serving during a time of war, twice, made coming home special and it was in those moments of return that Rivera says he learned one of the most important lessons. “Probably one of the greatest things my father did for us was to show his complete respect for my mother," he said. "Knowing what she had to do as the caretaker when he wasn’t there.”
Rivera understands why his dad was away, and focuses on the times he was home. “Every time my dad was back, dad was always there," he remembered. "No matter what.”
There were still long days and duties to be done even though he was back stateside and the way he went about his military job is something Rivera uses to this day - as he looks to lead as the head coach of the Washington Redskins. “He’d go to the base at 6 a.m. and come back from the base at 5 o’clock, when retreat was, when they lowered the flag, he’d be pulling into the house. He was there.”
Rivera preaches “Be where your feet are.” It’s a way of focusing on the job when at the office, and on the family when at the home.
“That is one of the things I always tried to do," he said. "Is to be there for both my kids.”
Rivera has two children, Courtney and Christopher. Both played sports and Rivera shares a big laugh while telling stories of the times when he manages to put down his head coaching hat and attend games, as just a dad.
“My daughter played softball collegiately, and so there is nothing like being in the stands," he said. "I’ve coached in the Super Bowl, that’s nothing compared to being in the stands when you’re daughter is on the mound. That is nerve wrecking.”
It begged the question if the great NFL coach has ever lost his cool and been kicked out from hollering at a game? “No, my wife is the one that is out there," he said. "I just sit there quietly, I don’t say much, but my wife, she’s all in.”
Stephanie, his wife, is a coach in her own rite, having spent time on the Mystics coaching staff in 2000.
And while we all shared a laugh on which security guard would have the courage to kick a man of Coach Rivera’s stature out of a game, he chuckles and says, “If it’s one thing..... it’s like my dad always said. You gotta be there for them,” he said.
And that means you don’t get yourself kicked out, you sit, you watch, you encourage, you offer advice on the drive home. Home, where the Redskins head coach is known as ‘dad’.
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