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The Dickie Guillen Family & “The 2021 Classic”

Riders Celebrate Coach Guillen With Big Change…All Work, All Glory

Photo Credit: The Los Angeles Rams

(Boyle Heights/East Los Angeles, CA)  {VETERANS DAY} – November 11, 2021 [From The Editor’s Desk]: We take a special and timely moment to follow-up on the late Coach Dickie Guillen’s Family as they went through their first full season of being without their dad, hero, friend, and comforter who succumbed to the COVID-19 coronavirus in January of this year. We interviewed his three daughters, Jennifer Denise, Virginia, during the Roosevelt Rough Riders media day back in early April and began the chronicling of his life as a legendary coach of both the Garfield Bulldogs and the Rough Riders. He is deeply and profoundly missed by all of his fellow colleagues, coaches, current and former Rough Rider and Bulldog  players. Special to him was this year’s team of Roosevelt players and there are thoughts that he may have  had a special hand in the dramatic Riders’ victory this past 10/29/21.

And, on this 2021 Veterans Day commemoration from the Cinco Puntos intersection at Cesar Chavez Avenue in East L.A., we take time to recognize as well as reflect on our vast expanse of Chicano/Latino vets, and proudly include Coach Dickie, a Vietnam War vet, in that special group of our heroes who gave their time to serve our country.


We now bring you first narrative of his youngest daughter Virginia, and how she found herself attending regular season games this year without seeing her Dad on the Roosevelt sidelines, and of course, the East L.A. Classic, believing that the spirit of her dad, Coach Dickie, was roaming ELAC’s Weingart Stadium field with the Rough Riders nation and the team, encouraging all of the players, especially his Linemen, that they must face the reality that All Work, No Glory is the price they must pay to be a Roosevelt Rough Rider.

{From Virginia} “Head Coach Aldo Parral provided our Family with tickets to the game in the VIP area. That is where my Mom, Jennifer and I were for the first half of the game. My sister Denise sold game-day tickets at the ticket booth for the entire game. I went down to the playing field during the 3rd quarter with Will.I.Am and that is where we stayed until the end of the game.”

“I wasn’t able to reunite with my mother and sisters until after the game in the parking-structure lot. It was an emotional reunion there—hugging, crying, and recounting the final moments of the game.  Jennifer said she was so nervous during the final seconds of the game. Denise was anxious not knowing the score and I was holding onto my phone while speaking with my brother, Richard, JR. at Dad’s special corner of the field.  We, like every Rough Rider in the house, were praying that Riders would hold off the Bulldogs and get that wonderful East L.A. Classic trophy back and in possession of our great Riders Nation.”

“But for us it wasn’t just a ‘Classic’ win for Roosevelt and Boyle Heights, it was a ‘win for our Dad,’ validating that he was there and that his Spirit is never ending. It was an unforgettable night, a truly memorable, and epic 2021 East L.A. Classic. For the last 10 years it has been All Work, No Glory, but that night, it was All Glory.”

{From Jennifer}  “For me, it was the highlight of of 2021. I wasn’t going to attend, but at the last minute I thought if they mention Father I should be there. When I got there I remember thinking to myself ” I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’RE GONE ” So happy that he was acknowledged and my heart sank when I saw the banner with his face on it. The game was amazing the boys fought till the end. So proud and thankful to the Riders for the win. It was all for Coach Dickie ❤️. When I saw my sisters we hugged and cried in each other’s arms. Definitely a night we will never forget.

{From Denise} “I didn’t watch the game, but I was there selling tickets on the Roosevelt side like I’ve done for the past several years. I woke up feeling confident in Our Kids and with the Coaching Staff. I saw Coach Parral like usually do every morning. I hugged Him. And I wished Him and the Boys lots of luck. I told Him…We got this! About 10 minutes into the 4th qtr.  We were taken into the office where our money was being counted. I could hear the roar of the crowed. Knowing the score people that were in the office were so happy for Me telling Me, don’t worry Dee, Roosevelt is going to win! There were 2 minutes left in the 4th quarter, I didn’t want to jinx it by seeing the last few minutes of the game. I was pacing while waiting for the game to end….FINALLY, Garfield tries for a field goal…I know my Dad was there, He clearly flicked His Finger and the Football went the other way. I was so happy, I was crying tears of joy. The game was totally dedicated to My Pops, ALL WORK, NO GLORY prevailed. We got the glory and our bragging rights back! They Did it for You Pops. Go Riders!” ❤ ???


{From Richard JR}  “In the morning that day I put on my dad’s black Riders sweater and  ‘All work, No glory’ hat. I put my Rider pin on my hat that day just like I did as a kid on game days. Having the TV on watching all the hype on the news. Playing my dad’s favorite songs on the way to work like I do each Friday. I told a Co-worker about the game and also said that my dad will be there for sure with the team . I don’t know but somehow Dad will either help them miss a kick, or come through for them in a time of need . I told my boss,  “ ” that I wasn’t attending the game and he said, “don’t worry I’ll represent for you.”

“Speaking to my sister via facetime was hard. But it all played out the way it was supposed to. Extremely emotional day but having to watch a game like that via facetime was stressful. I was on a plane heading to Seattle. I had a chance to watch the final minutes on the plane due to a delay. With my dad’s photo in my hand I asked dad give the kids the extra juice to pull out a win.  Talk about a wish come true. Crying on the plane the Riders came away with the ‘W.’ Bringing the trophy back home to Boyle Heights. Looking at my dad’s photos on my phone all I could say was, ‘they did it, dad they did it for you.’ Tonight the Riders get the Glory. To see the kids represent for my dad was extra special. The Mariachi were playing for a long time in heaven with all the fallen Riders and Coaches there, happy to see the trophy come back home to Boyle Heights.”

And through this story, we all can continue to re-live the 86th Edition of the East L.A. Classic” with a big part of the Rough Riders family being brought into perspective and memorialized by Coach Guillen’s son, Richard JR, and his three daughters, Virginia, Denise, and Jennifer. We thank them for sharing their thoughts with the community. We hope you also enjoy the photo gallery of the Family as they continued their support of the Rough Riders by attending many of the home games this season as well. For our next East L.A. Classic project w will begin a search for other alumni from both schools and do some additional profiles. It’s coming very soon!


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