Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Monday, September 18, 2006
Sometimes, OK many times, when I begin to feel sorry for myself or angry over something that is happening in my little world, God always finds a way to remind me just how truly blessed and lucky I am. Today was one of those days.
I was at work not happy with still being here and everything that needs done, not happy with work because I have lost the 'emotional investment' with the job, stressed over the thought of what the next couple of months means is going to mean to me.
And then I got this email at work:
Strongest Dad in the World
[From Sports Illustrated, By Rick Reilly]
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 suck.
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 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
a 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
"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, Dick tried.
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 think?
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 the time.
"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
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."
Here's the video....(make sure you have the tissues ready). And here's their story.
Now, that puts everything back into perspective doesn't it? So, I am going to go and do some more laundry, some cleaning, some dusting until I have to go get DS from his PSR lesson. Then, I am going to give him the biggest hug ever and kiss him while thanking God for all the grace that He has bestowed upon me.
BTW, I've joined the Grey's KAL. How cool is that? I can not WAIT until Thursday night. I'm knitting an irish moss stitch scarf from Malabrigo in the colorway amorosa. Let me tell you, this is the most amazingly soft wool EVER.