A Father-Son Love That Never Gets Old
April 20, 2009, 3:04 am
Filed under: News, Sports Media

Rick Hoyt is 47 years old.  He can’t talk or walk.  When he was born, the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck, and his subsequent life has been spent virtually motionless due to a debilitating case of cerebral palsy.  And yet…

“When I’m running, I don’t feel disabled.”

Rick will cross the finsh line at tomorrow’s Boston Marathon, just like he has at numerous marathons over the years (not to mention six triathalons) — often in less than three hours.  In each case, his movement was fueled (literally) by his tenacious and loving father, Dick.

Running 26.2 miles at 68 years old is decidedly impressive; doing so while pushing another human being the entire way is absolutely mind-blowing.  Dick Hoyt brings pure humanity to superhuman achievement.

Get the inside story on the Hoyts in this Boston Globe interview, and an additional video interview with Dick Hoyt.

The Hoyts have been trailblazers on the path to equality for disabled athletes.  Their initial attempts to gain official entrance into competitions were rebutted, and they felt unwelcome — but they didn’t give up.  Two decades later, they are triathalon hall-of-famers, and a unified inspiration to us all.

A common misconception about persons with disabilities is that they are devoid of humor.  The logic behind this thinking is either that they aren’t capable of such thinking, or that their often difficult existence leaves them too downtrodden to find joy in life.  In our experience, the opposite is true — and Rick Hoyt’s sentiment on his future sums it up nicely:

I asked (Rick), “Do you worry about the day when your dad can’t push you through races anymore?” It took Rick about three minutes to type his answer. The computer attached to his wheelchair can speak the words that he types, and when he finished, this is what the computer said: “Hopefully some nice young good-looking woman will take dad’s place.” And then Rick laughed.

Well played, Rick.  Good luck tomorrow…


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