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Team Hoyt…

January 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Strongest Dad in the World
Rick Reilly for Sports Illustrated

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 institution.”

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 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, 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 Century.”

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.”
Sports Illustrated Issue date: June 20, 2005, p. 88

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Categories: Emotional Tags: ,

Be Careful What You Believe…

January 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Let us believe neither half of the good people tell us of ourselves, nor half of the evil they say of others.
J. Petit Senn

 

photo credit: dicocitations

Categories: Quotes Tags:

The Cleaning Lady…

January 24, 2012 Leave a comment

During my second month of nursing school, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. “Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say ‘Hello’.” I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was ‘Dorothy’.

 

photo credit: sunflowerhouseservices

January 23, 2012 Leave a comment

The question for each man to settle is not what he would do if he had means, time, influence and educational advantages; the question is what he will do with the things he has. The moment a young man ceases to dream or to bemoan his lack of opportunities and resolutely looks his conditions in the face, and resolves to change them, he lays the corner-stone of a solid and honorable success.
Hamilton Wright Mabie

Categories: Quotes Tags: ,

Optimism…

January 23, 2012 Leave a comment

As I was driving home from work one day, I stopped to watch a local Little League baseball game in a park near my home. As I sat down behind the bench on the first-base line, I asked one of the boys what the score was.

“We’re behind 14 to nothing,” he answered with a smile.

“Really,” I said. “I have to say you don’t look very discouraged.”

“Discouraged” the boy asked with a puzzled look on his face. “Why should we be discouraged? We haven’t been up to bat yet.”

photo credit: allposters.com

story found at: mormonsite.wordpress.com

Learning to Love Life…

January 20, 2012 Leave a comment

As I grow to understand life less and less,
I learn to love it more and more.

Jules Renard

 

photo credit: clec.uaicf.asso.fr

Kurtis the Stock Boy and Brenda the Checkout Girl

January 20, 2012 2 comments

In a supermarket, Kurtis the stock boy, was busily working when a new voice came over the loud speaker asking for a carry out at register 4.  Kurtis was almost finished, and wanted to get some fresh air, and decided to answer the call. As he approached the check-out stand a distant smile caught his eye, the new check-out girl was beautiful.  She was an older woman (maybe 26, and he was only 22) and he fell in love.

Later that day, after his shift was over, he waited by the punch clock to find out her name. She came into the break room, smiled softly at him, took her card and punched out, then left.  He looked at her card, BRENDA.  He walked out only to see her start walking up the road.  Next day, he waited outside as she left the supermarket, and offered her a ride home. He looked harmless enough, and she accepted.  When he dropped her off, he asked if maybe he could see her again, outside of work.  She simply said it wasn’t possible.

He pressed and she explained she had two children and she couldn’t afford a baby-sitter, so he offered to pay for the baby-sitter.  Reluctantly she accepted his offer for a date for the following Saturday.  That Saturday night he arrived at her door only to have her tell him that she was unable to go with him. The baby-sitter had called and canceled. To which Kurtis simply said, “Well, let’s take the kids with us.”

She tried to explain that taking the children was not an option, but again not taking no for an answer, he pressed.  Finally Brenda, brought him inside to meet her children.  She had an older daughter who was just as cute as a bug, Kurtis thought, then Brenda brought out her son, in a wheelchair.  He was born a paraplegic with Down Syndrome.

Kurtis asked Brenda, “I still don’t understand why the kids can’t come with us?”  Brenda was amazed. Most men would run away from a woman with two kids, especially if one had disabilities – just like her first husband and father of her children had done.  Kurtis was not ordinary – – – he had a different mindset.

That evening Kurtis and Brenda loaded up the kids, went to dinner and the movies. When her son needed anything Kurtis would take care of him.  When he needed to use the restroom, he picked him up out of his wheelchair, took him and brought him back.  The kids loved Kurtis.  At the end of the evening , Brenda knew this was the man she was going to marry and spend the rest of her life with.

A year later, they were married and Kurtis adopted both of her children.  Since then they have added two more kids.

So what happened to Kurtis the stock boy and Brenda the check-out girl? Well, Mr. & Mrs. Kurt Warner now live in Arizona , where he is currently employed as the quarterback of the National Football League Arizona Cardinals and has his Cardinals in the Super Bowl.  Is this a surprise ending or could you have guessed that he was not an ordinary person.

It should be noted that he also quarterbacked the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. He has also been the NLF’s Most Valuable Player twice at the Super Bowl’s.

note: This story is a bit old. Kurt Warner is now retired.

story found at: inspirationalstories.com

photo credit: tradekorea.com