It's been two years since Kedric Golston suited up for an NFL game, but the former Redskins defensive lineman hasn't lamented or regretted his time away from the field. Instead, he's been inserting himself into the fulfilling role of being a father, which eluded him for six months of each year playing football.
That adds up over 11 career seasons, all of which were spent in Washington, and so Golston smiles when he thinks about the opportunities that he's been afforded with his four kids, Tori (20), Kedric Jr. (11), Kaden (9) and Lola (7).
"I wasn't able to go to all their practices, all their games, I wasn't able to coach their teams, I wasn't able to go to weekend tournaments," Golston said last week at FedExField, celebrating the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation's new relationship with the Embassy of Qatar.
"It's just a different mindset – you have to wake up before a game on Thanksgiving, versus 'Hey, we're frying turkeys,' so I'm just really enjoying every single day, man, looking forward to what the future holds."
A countdown of the top-10 images of defensive lineman Kedric Golston during the 2014 season.
For now, the immediate future means continuing to run a real estate company with his wife, who's been the owner for the past 11 years. Further down the road, though, Golston could see himself continuing to coach youth sports, which he currently does for his two boys, Kedric Jr. and Kaden. They both play football, something that "gets them off Fortnite," Golston jokes, though he does make sure they're playing with the right supervision.
"I'm a huge proponent of proper coaching, proper technique, heads-up tackling and just trying to put them in a situation where if they want to do something for them to be successful at it, and safe at I," Golston said. "And ultimately, that's what it's all about. Nobody really wants to see their kids hurt, but I also can't wrap them in bubble wrap."
His sons two years apart, Golston splits time helping out each team, playing the "orange slicer" with other dads. The experience has opened his eyes to the world of youth sports, and allowed him to remember the importance they have in kids' lives beyond the winning and losing.
"Most parents just want the best for their kids and they know the best for their kids, and it's a balancing act," he said. "You don't want your kid to accept less than what they're capable of, but you don't want them to get discouraged. So that communication is the key, and a lot of times people only see the coach yelling and they don't see the instruction. I think there are a lot of great coaches across the country, male and female coaches, that are doing a great job investing their time in these kids, to give them a great experience and teach them some life lessons."
"There are a lot of issues with youth sports," Golston added. "Sports are so important because [they] teach life lessons. So I'm all about the two things that you can control in life -- your attitude and your effort. Whether that's you working nine to five or that's you running wind sprints. Those are the things that you can control, so I don't necessarily focus on the end result. I just want you to do your best and have a great attitude about it. I think no matter if you're a Hall of Famer, or you're an entrepreneur, or you volunteer your time away, those two things will carry you in life."
Naturally, Goslton will soon be faced with the decision to enroll his kids into AAU leagues, which cost more money and have become criticized for specializing participants into one sport year-round at an early age. He sees the opportunity as one to compete at a high level and experience the trials that come with winning and losing on a bigger stage.
"Just to be able to travel and play sports, and just learn that it's not always going to work out the way you think it might work out," Golston said. "Sometimes you have to be able to deal with disappointment in life. So sports gives you the highs, gives you the lows. When you're not having your best day you still have to go to practice, you still have to do all those things. And for me, those are teachable moments, because it's not all about winning.
"We want to win, we're working to win, but those teachable moments along the process will help the young men, the young women, and do the best for their life."