Father's love for his son
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It started in Winchester, Massachusetts,
43 years ago, when Rick Hoyt was born.
Somehow his umbilical cord became wrapped around his neck, leaving him
brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.
The doctors told Rick's parents that he would be a vegetable for the rest of his
life. But Dick Hoyt, Rick's father, didn't believe it. He noticed the way Rick's
eyes followed him 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 told. "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 Hoyt's weren't quite a single
runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair competitor. So, for the first few
years, Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway.
Later, they would find 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
Then somebody said, "Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?'' ( A triathlon is a
multi-sport event involving the completion of three continuous and sequential
endurance events.While many variations of the sport exist, triathlon, in its
most popular form, involves swimming, cycling, and running )
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, Dick tried.
Now they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironman
Competitions in Hawaii.
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 the time.
But to really appreciate the greatness of this love story, you have to watch the
following video... presented here, courtesy of YouTube.
(And be prepared to be inspired! ;-)
See the Videos