Somewhere in Heaven my father is laughing, saying, “I told you so”


Steve Rivera with his sons Cameron (left) and Trey 10 years ago (Rivera family photo)

Steve Rivera with his sons Cameron (left) and Trey 10 years ago (Rivera family photo)

Catch up on Steve Rivera’s reports at

This is a re-publication of a column I wrote when I was with The Tucson Citizen …

Somewhere in heaven, likely on some plush softball field free of bad hops, my dad is having a knee-slapping good time at my expense.

He’s having a “¿Quien te trae?” (Spanish for, “Who has you here?”) moment when it comes to me being a father.

You know what they say about paybacks. I’m living it, breathing it with every sunrise. But I was warned. Some 25 or 30 years ago, I’d often hear my dad’s refrain: “Just wait until you have kids!”

I do – two boys – and boy was he right. I’m living his life. Ugh!

And I’m raising an ant and a butterfly.

The oldest, Cameron (the ant), is much like me – a diligent but petulant type who insists on arguing over moot points. The other, Trey, is a carefree, fly-to-the-next-flower type.

I wasn’t much of a curveball hitter, but every day I’m thrown a couple by the duo. They’ve turned me into a combination of Al Bundy (“Married with Children”), Dagwood Bumstead and George Lopez (“The George Lopez Show”).

I’m Mr. Chopped Liver, feeling like the guy picked last in the annual NFL draft – Mr. Irrelevant.

Steve Rivera and Anthony Gimino released a book late last year about the pertinent stories behind what has made Arizona basketball what it is today. It is a must-read for any college basketball fan. Please contact Rivera by e-mail to inquire about buying a copy.


Read Steve Rivera’s story this week at on the impact Greg Byrne’s father had on his professional life as an athletic director at Arizona.

“Don’t ever stop evolving. That’s an inspiration to all of us. Don’t get stuck in the mud and think you have it figured out for all of us.” — A lesson learned by Greg Byrne from his father, a long-time collegiate athletic administrator.

Mom’s tops – likely even on Father’s Day come Sunday.

The kids have no trouble traveling to the ends of the Earth with their mother but must be bribed to go to Sonic to get a Slushie with me.

Go figure. Isn’t fatherhood grand? I can hear the chuckles coming from heaven right now.

On the night my then wife gave birth to Cameron, just more than nine years ago, I drove home thinking, “What the hell did I just do?” in creating a family with a plethora of responsibilities. Fatherhood has been a work in progress. Every day is an adventure.

And apparently, I’m not passing with flying colors.

To wit, just recently I got a card stating I’m passing in love, understanding, intelligence (debatable, but go along), sense of humor, helpfulness and wisdom. But I’m not doing so well in allowances (C), kindness (D) and patience (F).

But hey, I’m a sportswriter (that explains the allowances). As for the other two, they’ve never been my best qualities and someone needs to say “No.” You know what they say about kids and drunks – at least they’re honest.

Unfortunately, mine are too honest when it comes to my faults – and appearances.

After viewing some old photos, they dubbed me “Harry Potter,” when they saw a photo of me with thick glasses and straight hair.

Somewhere on that field my father is laughing, saying, “I told you so.” And he’s right – as usual.

During the school year, when my youngest son was asked what I did for a living, the teacher found out all I do is sit on the couch in front of the television and watch sports (picture Al Bundy with the remote). And when I’m not doing that, I’m yelling at my laptop computer because it rarely works.

The next day she offered her condolences to my wife, feeling sorry for a women whose husband does nothing around the house.

Little did Mrs. Discenza know that watching games and sitting in front of a computer is what I do for a living. Just depends on the venue.

Then came the time when I arrived home from a five-day trip while covering the University of Arizona men’s basketball team. I received this ditty from my then 5-year-old Trey: “Dad, maybe you should have had a girl.

“Maybe she would have loved you because no one here really does.” He laughed.

Dad is doubling over with laughter.

But that was my own undoing. Just two months earlier, in jest, I told my kids that they were lucky I didn’t have a girl because she would have been “daddy’s little girl and would have gotten all the attention.”

At least the young one has a good memory. Note to self: Fewer presents to the younger one come Christmas.

As for Cameron, he no longer thinks I have an office at McKale Center or get everywhere by airplane. It wasn’t long ago he’d wave to the passing planes saying goodbye to daddy because he was headed to work.

That all said, life is good as a father, perhaps the toughest job I’ll ever have. It’s always a work in progress with life’s thrills, loves and headaches because of the kids.

But as my father always told me, no one promised me a rose garden. But if you get one, try to make the most of it. Thankfully, I’ve got one. It just needs some fertilizer and water from time to time. The kids supply the former, and I’m in charge of the latter.

Happy Father’s Day to those lucky enough to be dads.

Steve Rivera is a longtime Tucson sports journalist was the Arizona basketball beat reporter for the Tucson Citizen for almost 20 years. He presently is a writer for He also is a guest analyst on KCUB (1290-AM) and editor-in-chief of Tucson-based Tail Winds magazine.

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