NFL Washington Commanders head coach swears by ‘Filipino family values’
Ron Rivera “Riverboat Ron”, head football coach for the Washington National Football League Commanders, learned the values of hard work and family from his ancestor.
His maternal grandfather, Margarito Palma, was born in the Philippines before emigrating to California’s Salinas Valley, where he became an itinerant farm laborer who followed jobs from one farming season to the next.
Rivera said he learned a lot from watching Palma how much he cares about his family, despite the hard work he has to do to earn a living.
While Palma enjoyed sports primarily for entertainment, he was a strong supporter of his grandchildren’s sporting pursuits. “It was really fun knowing he was in the stands, because you tried a little harder,” Rivera told Commanders.com. “You wanted to have that hit because it was there, and it was always cool.”
Palma died before he could see Rivera play college football for the University of California. Rivera thinks Palma would have been proud of what he achieved, including being selected as an American football player.
Rivera’s appreciation of family values is also reinforced by his wife’s family. Stephanie Rivera is also a Filipina American who grew up in California near the Mare Island shipyard in Vallejo. Both of his grandparents served in the military,
His paternal grandfather served in World War II for over 30 years and ended his career as Chief Petty Officer, while his great-grandfather served in World War I.
There are only a few soccer players of Filipino descent, including Washington offensive lineman Keith Ismael. Thus, Rivera has emphasized representation during her career.
Rivera thinks the Filipino community would be proud if he could represent them. “I just think people should know a little bit more about me in terms of my heritage,” Rivera said. (Inquirer.net)