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06-17-07, 01:36 AM #1
Happy Father's Day - Ever hear of Team Hoyt?
I am not the author but thought this was a great Father's Day story. Verified through Snopes.
I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay
for their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots.
But compared with Dick Hoyt, I stink.
Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in
marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a
wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and
pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars--all in the same day.
Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back
mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike. Makes
taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?
And what has Rick done for his father? Not much--except save his life.
This love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick was
strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged
and unable to control his limbs.
"He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life;" Dick says doctors told
him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. "Put him in an
But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes
followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the
engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was
anything to help the boy communicate. "No way," Dick says he was
"There's nothing going on in his brain."
"Tell him a joke," Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a
lot was going on in his brain.
Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by
touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to
communicate. First words? "Go Bruins!" And after a high school
classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a
charity run for him, Rick pecked out, "Dad, I want to do that."
Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described "porker" who never ran
more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he
tried. "Then it was me who was handicapped," Dick says. "I was sore
for two weeks."
That day changed Rick's life. "Dad," he typed, "when we were
running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!"
And that sentence changed Dick's life. He became obsessed with giving
Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly
shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.
"No way," Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't quite a
single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair competitor. For a
few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway,
then they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they
ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston
the following year.
Then somebody said, "Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?"
How's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike since he
was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still,
Now they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour
Ironmans in Hawaii. It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud
getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don't you
Hey, Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? "No way," he says.
Dick does it purely for "the awesome feeling" he gets seeing Rick
with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.
This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston
Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best
time'? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992--only 35 minutes off the world
record, which, in case you don't keep track of these things, happens
to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at
"No question about it," Rick types. "My dad is the Father of the
And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a
mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his
arteries was 95% clogged. "If you hadn't been in such great shape,"
one doctor told him, "you probably would've died 15 years ago."
So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life.
Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in
Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland,
Mass., always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the
country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend,
including this Father's Day.
That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants
to give him is a gift he can never buy.
"The thing I'd most like, " Rick types, "is that my dad sit in the
chair and I push him once."
Happy Fathers day to all the Dad's out there."The statements and opinions contained in this communication do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Commission regarding these issues."
06-17-07, 07:14 AM #2
06-17-07, 07:25 AM #3Cheech Guest
I give my happy fathers day to all you fathers out there, thats probably the best job out there!
06-17-07, 08:26 AM #4
Awesome story. Absolutely awesome!
"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
- Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly. - Lovelace
The opinions expressed by this poster are wholly his own, and should never be construed to even remotely be in representation of his employer, its agencies or assigns. In fact, they probably fail to be in alignment with the opinions of any rational human being.
06-17-07, 08:43 AM #5
Great story! Happy Fathers Day everyone.
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia
06-17-07, 08:52 AM #6
Happy Father's Day to all of the fathers and those who have a fathering or mentoring role in someone's life.
06-17-07, 08:53 AM #7
06-17-07, 11:43 AM #8
It takes a man to be a dad
Great story."I'm not a coward,
I've just never been tested
I'd like to think that if I was,
I would pass"
~Mighty Mighty Bosstones~
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