Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006
Team Hoyt: Great Parents are Up to The Challenge
What’s the measure of a parent? Try watching this
YouTube Google video titled, “Can,” without getting a lump in your throat. The footage is real, as aficionados of the Boston Marathon and other east coast races surely know.
At Rick Hoyt’s birth in 1962, his umbilical cord was coiled around his neck, depriving him of oxygen. Those first moments made him a “spastic quadriplegic, cerebral palsy, non-speaking person.” He was destined to never walk, talk or move in any significant manner. Doctors advised his 19 and 20-year-old parents to institutionalize their son for life. He would be a vegetable, they said, a total loss. Can you imagine?
Instead, Rick’s parents brought him home and treated him like a normal kid. They mainstreamed him. They fought to enroll him in public school, changing their state law in the process. They raised funds for a computer which let Rick type using slight head movements â€“ his first words communicated were “Go Bruins.” Rick went on to graduate from Boston University and is now a technical consultant for adaptive technology being developed at Boston College.
At 15-years-old, Rick wanted to participate in a 5-mile benefit run, so his dad — who was 40-years-old and used to running 1 mile three times a week — pushed him in a wheelchair through the race. More than 900 races later, including 206 triathalons and their 25th Boston Marathon this year, Rick is still competing with his 66-year-old dad Dick Hoyt. Dad even had a heart attack in 2003 and he’s still going. They compete in about 40 races per year.
In a triathlon, Rick is pushed in a stroller-like vehicle, pedaled in a specially designed two-seat bicycle and towed in an inflatable raft. What is Dad’s inspiration? After that first race at the age of 15, Rick told his dad he didn’t feel disabled when they competed.
“What drives us? What motivates us to do this grueling race [the Boston Marathon] and others like it? If people who watch us compete can just begin to understand that the disabled are normal, that we have rich productive lives, that’s all I ask. That’s my prize.” -Rick Hoyt from ‘Rick’s Eyes on the Prize’
Here is more background about the Hoyts:
- Official web site: Team Hoyt.
- Six minute news feature (Google Video) that appears to be the source material for the music video shown above.
- Eagle Eyes project: a computer accessibility project on which Rick is a technical consultant.
- CNN article: Father-son duo are world class competitors, despite odds.
- Spoken in Congress: Paying Tribute to Dick Hoyt (plus the text of a Sports Illustrated column on the second half of the page).
I’d like to know… when will this story be made into a movie, and who will play this amazing duo?
The YouTube link was found via the Journeying…By Grace Alone blog. Biographical information about Team Hoyt was obtained from the team’s web site and the documentary Rick’s Eyes on the Prize.)