For the month of May we read the book, Devoted: The Story of a Father's Love for His Son by Dick Hoyt.
The book starts out with a brief description of how Dick and Rick Hoyt, affectionately called "Team Hoyt", became an internet sensation. What Dick Hoyt saw was a video of himself and his son, a spastic quadriplegic, finishing their Hawaii Ironman (Kona) set to music.
That video was viewed by millions of people, and in turn thousands of people have contacted the Hoyts telling them what an inspiration they are to them and so many other people.
Dick Hoyt married at a young age and the Hoyts were expecting their first baby shortly after getting married. What was to follow, however, no one expected. Rick Hoyt was born a spastic quadriplegic after complications during birth; his umbilical cord had been wrapped around his neck which caused him to lose oxygen for too long.
Back when Rick was born, there was not a lot of understanding of disabled individuals and the Hoyts were told to forget about him and move on with their lives. Neither Dick nor Rick's mom, Judy, wanted to do that and instead they brought him home. Eventually Dick and Judy had two more sons and they continued to fight for acceptance and equality for their first-born son, Rick.
The story goes on to describe their struggles with getting Rick into school, and how eventually with the help of a TIC (Tufts Interactive Communicator) developed by Tufts University and the passing of new laws he was finally able to attend school.
Dick and Rick Hoyt's running and triathlon life started when Rick attended a basketball game with his classmates and gym teacher. At the basketball game, an announcement was made about a charity run for a basketball player who had become paralyzed after colliding with another player. Rick wanted to run the race.
And the rest, as they say, was history.
Dick and Rick ran that race, with some resistance from the other runners and race coordinators, and they didn't come in last. They came in second to last.
After that moment Dick and Rick practiced and raced as much as they could. They raced almost every weekend and eventually they ran a full marathon. Dick and Rick even participated in the Boston Marathon, unfortunately as bandits at first, numerous times.
They didn't stop there, eventually Dick and Rick started doing triathlons. They even did a few Ironman races, although Dick didn't finish their first attempt at Kona because he drank too much Gatorade before the race.
The story also describes the other milestones in their lives, such as Rick graduating from the Boston University with a degree in Special Education and biking and running across the country to raise money for the Hoyt Fund.
Dick and Rick Hoyt have been inspiring others for years and their love for each other is evident. They truly show that with hardwork and dedication that anyone can do whatever they put their minds to, which is what their motto, "yes, you can", is all about.
This past Boston Marathon was supposed to be Dick and Rick's last run, pun intended, at their "hometown" marathon. However, because of what happened they were only able to get to mile 25 this year and have decided that they will run it again next year to honor the victims and survivors.
Here are some other book club members' reviews:
Some discussion questions:
What is something that you thought you weren't capable of doing, but then proved yourself wrong?
Have you ever fought for yourself or others in the face of adversity?
Dick Hoyt was asked if he ever would have run a race without Rick, and he said no even though he probably would have run the races faster. Would you have done the same, why or why not?