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“Our Message Is That Everybody Should Be Included In Everyday Life.” November 26, 2008

Posted by Edward von Bear in Ducks, Heroes, Man Laws, Music, News, Philosophy.

A few months ago, I was in a running shoe store owned by a friend of the family. While waiting to pick up a pair of braces to deal with my pronation issues, I happened to read one of those runners magazines that tells you you suck at everything unless you do what the fad of the month is. Well, during the course of reading how my fat ass can’t compete with the gazelles on the cover, I happened to stumble across an article about Dick and Rick Hoyt, a father-son marathon/triathlon team from Massachusetts. All well and good, until I realized that when the two compete in the races together, with the father pulling and pushing his son, challenged since birth, the whole way. They have been racing together for almost thirty years.

It is hard to imagine now the resistance which the Hoyts encountered early on, but attitudes did begin to change when they entered the Boston Marathon in 1981, and finished in the top quarter of the field. Dick recalls the earlier, less tolerant days with more sadness than anger:

“Nobody wanted Rick in a road race. Everybody looked at us, nobody talked to us, nobody wanted to have anything to do with us. But you can’t really blame them – people often are not educated, and they’d never seen anyone like us. As time went on, though, they could see he was a person — he has a great sense of humor, for instance. That made a big difference.”

After 4 years of marathons, Team Hoyt attempted their first triathlon — and for this Dick had to learn to swim. “I sank like a stone at first” Dick recalled with a laugh “and I hadn’t been on a bike since I was six years old.”

With a newly-built bike (adapted to carry Rick in front) and a boat tied to Dick’s waist as he swam, the Hoyts came in second-to-last in the competition held on Father’s Day 1985.

“We chuckle to think about that as my Father’s Day present from Rick, ” said Dick.

They have been competing ever since, at home and increasingly abroad. Generally they manage to improve their finishing times. “Rick is the one who inspires and motivates me, the way he just loves sports and competing,” Dick said.

Not only that, but Rick is able to type out his thoughts, has earned a college degree, and works on projects helping similarly challenged people communicate easier. My quote in the title is from Rick, and it hammers home hat I hold to be my most basic belief (stolen from a Reagan quote) that every life has a purpose.

Meanwhile, I piss and moan when my toenails aren’t trimmed properly.


1. Wickedpinto - November 26, 2008

I’ve known this basic story for almost 2 decades. There are a lot of inspirational images thrown into a lot of “classes” we had to watch while in the MC, and I knew about this guy before the MC. The father was never much a runner, but his son communicated that he wanted to run a marathon, so dad got fit, and his very first marathon was with his son, and they finished that first one under the qualification time ( I think 3:30, might be 4:30) and the son was so stoked, that dad just nutsed up and got into shape so he could give his kid every accomplishment that at first noone though he could enjoy.

Now They are an inspiration to everyone.

Like I said, I remember this from the MC and if you break the minutes, They are fast compared to the majority of the corps (not as fast as I was, but not much slower)

It’s a great story, like the story of Star, the Hero of Boise.

2. composmentis - November 26, 2008

That is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

It sure makes me pause and think about my own life.

And simply from the athletic perspective, pulling that raft over 2miles is unbelievable, let alone biking over 100 miles and running 26 after that. Much respect.

3. Mare - November 26, 2008

So the father gets into marathon shape (+) so his son can enter a marathon and compete? Father of the f’ing Year.

And I thought I was an awesome mom.

4. Retired Geezer - November 26, 2008

It’s a great story, like the story of Star, the Hero of Boise

Wow, I’m touched that you remembered that story, WP.

5. Retired Geezer - November 26, 2008
6. skinbad - November 26, 2008

Hell of a dad. The times I begrudged reading a bedtime story because I had other things to do seem pretty pathetic at the moment.

7. Michael - November 26, 2008


I reckon there’s not a Dad in the world who does not regret missing a few bedtime-story times.

It works out OK, if you did enough of them. Daughter Michael is here for Thanksgiving with Missy (her cool Border Collie), and that’s all good for me.

8. Wickedpinto - November 28, 2008

Star is a fucking hero!

9. Wickedpinto - November 28, 2008

I have a perma to that link geezer, whenever I feel down, I can read that, and let my moniter fade in and out of focus, for some reason it allways happens when I bring that story up, and realize, that my whiny ass ain’t got it so bad afterall.

“everyone needs a hero.”

Star is definately one of mine.

10. Wickedpinto - November 28, 2008

Also, if life is only about continued lividity, then there never would have been a Star.

11. Wickedpinto - November 28, 2008

and I wouldn’t have her as a hero.

12. Wickedpinto - November 28, 2008

btw geezer, I remember stuff, thats what I do.

13. Wickedpinto - November 28, 2008

ex post thanksgivingdaydo post at AMA. Teary eyes continue.

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