Rickey Dixon and Daughter Alana

Words of Wisdom From A Wonderfully Inspiring Man!

Some of you reading this may already know that my father recently passed. My father was a remarkable man of integrity and the world will undoubtedly feel the impact of losing him. Fortunately, he left a legacy of like-minded, faithful, and compassionate family of witnesses to God. He also left us with a simple rule.

My dad always shared this little tidbit of wisdom that he wanted my siblings and I to live by:

    • Strength: as demonstrated through heart and faith.
    • Mindfulness: as always being aware of oneself and being their very best.
    • Integrity: as demonstrated through your performance in both work and play.
    • Love: concurs all. With love, anything and everything is possible. 
    • Excellence: in everything you do.

My dad said if we all remember to live by these qualities, we will become accomplished humans capable of achieving whatever we set out to do. And when we achieve our goals, remember to SMILE!

I am sharing my dads SMILE with you all today because it is something we ALL should strive to live by.

My Dad Lived With A S.M.I.L.E.

He was always smiling. He had the STRENGTH of an ox. A winner of the Jim Thorpe Award and named to the All-Big Eight first team as a junior and senior in 1986 and ’87. My dad proved that a skinny 5-foot-11 corner was a force to be reckoned with. His sheer will and determination contributed to his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2019.

My dad was always MINDFUL. My dad always mindful of himself and others. When interviewed at a fundraising event at OU, my dad was sure to give accolades to his wife, my momma! He made sure to attend matters at home while she managed her demanding role as a lawyer with the EPA.

INTEGRITY was my dads middle name. My dad was unwavering when it came to standing up for what he believed. Anyone who has had a disagreement with my father knew this about him. But one thing anyone would tell you . . . debating with Rickey Dixon meant an honest, open, and respectful dialogue expressing differences of opinion.

LOVE did concur all with my dad! My dad said when he met my mom, their bond of love was so strong that NOTHING would break it. Nothing ever did. From the challenges of raising a child with disabilities to his own battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS – my dads love for his family was unwavering! Even after being stricken down and wheelchair bound, my dad and I had a ritual of taking little excursions to the stop sign down the street: he in his motorized wheelchair, and I on my bubblegum-pink hoverboard. He did this because he knew how important these moments were for me.

When you look up EXCELLENCE, the name Rickey Dixon is next to it! A long shot who made it out of Dallas, where he attended Wilmer-Hutchins High, my dad lost his own father in a construction accident when he was just in diapers. His mom had to raise five kids while working long hours as a maid. OU coach Barry Switzer took a chance on my dad, who became an All-America defensive back. His teammates once voted him the Sooners’ hardest hitter, even though he was one of the smaller players on the field.

He went on to be selected No. 5 overall in the 1988 NFL draft. He played for the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Raiders, appearing in Super Bowl XXIII.

My dads own life is the prime example of achieving excellence – no matter the cards you were dealt. I take comfort knowing I had my dad for a role model and a mentor for my entire life to date.

I’ll never forget the words my dad used to say to me. He used to say . . .

Alana, you are a gift from God. God entrusted me to care for you and I thank him every day for such a gift!

But I think my dad got that backward. My dad was a gift from God to me! A gift I got to enjoy for the past 12 years. I will be eternally grateful to God for giving me such an amazing father, the man with the contagious SMILE! I love you daddy!

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