PARENTING
09/12/2014 02:46 pm ET Updated Sep 12, 2014

Talking To My Kids About Our Hometown Hero Ray Rice

Ronald Martinez via Getty Images

I am not what one would call a football fan. I watch it so infrequently that I often have to be reminded of the rules whenever I do watch. But for the last 10 years or so, Ray Rice has somehow been a bit of a hero in my house. You see, I live in New Rochelle, New York, Rice’s hometown. The Westchester city Rice grew up in and the one he made a point of giving back to even after he left it for Rutgers and then the NFL. He has touched the city and schools with events he has sponsored and his support for school sports, especially our championship football team, on which he first made his name in the early 2000s, and our championship cheerleading teams. And he touched my family’s life like he did many others in New Rochelle. He was one of my son’s camp counselors very early on, he made an appearance at my daughter’s graduation from the same elementary school he went to, we've all been to more than one Ray Rice Day event at the high school, and pretty much the entire city exalted in the Baltimore Ravens' Super Bowl win last year. Being a New Rochelle resident meant you got to take pride in this young man’s accomplishments and revel in the feel-good hometown-boy-makes-good story.

Read more on Essence

CONVERSATIONS