Teaching Story - The Hoyt Pinup
by Life Positive
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 pedalled 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 US on a bike. And what has Rick done for his father? Not much – except transform his life. This love story began in Winchester, Massachusetts, 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. But the Hoyts weren’t buying it. Eventually, rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was able to communicate. First words? “Go Bruins! (Bruins is a US basketball team)” And after a high school classmate was paralysed in an accident and the school organised a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, “Dad, I want to do that.” Yeah, right. How was Dick 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. In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year.
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