Saturday, July 20, 2013

Inspiration on ESPN

My friend Jeri contacted me the other night ot ask if I was watching the ESPY awards. She told me the Hoyts were on. I had to ask who are the Hoyt's? She reminded me that they are the Father son team who competes in marathons and triathlons. I knew exactly who she meant, but I didn't know their name until she told me.

By the time I turned on the TV, that segment was over. I finally saw the story today and I have to share it with you all.  It's is an amazing story. Amazing. And it was good to see all those jocks, who are used to adulation, standing and applauding for a story that all sports fans and athletes should be proud of.

There is a long way to go, of course, but there are so many more opportunities for inclusion of people with disabilities then there used to be. Generally the world of sports is not one of those places. Sure, there are para olympics, and special olympics and all sorts of games for the disabled, but rarely is there a chance to compete with non disabled athletes.*  The Hoyts ran right alongside other runners whether they had disabilities or not.

The Hoyts have competed together for 37 years. Not a remarkable story unless you know that son Rick has Cerebral Palsy and dad Dick pushes him in his wheelchair for entire marathons. He also tows him during the swim portions and rides with him during the bicycle portions of the triathlons.

This week the Hoyts were honored at the ESPY's, the Academy awards of the sports world. Before Lebron James was named male athlete of the year, the Hoyts received the Jimmy V award for perseverance in sports. here is the video from the award show.

(You might want to get a kleenex. I've seen it three times and still need kleenex.)

There was a longer video of their races and relationship together shown at the ESPY awards, but it does not seem to be sharable at this time. I am linking to the Huffington post story that includes the video.

Congratulations to the Hoyt's for a well deserved honor. And on behalf of Maggie and many other disabled individuals and their advocates, I want to say a huge THANK YOU to them as well. They probably did more for inclusion in that two minute clip at the ESPY's than a million raised voices have done in 20 years.

*I still have the utmost respect for the athletic prowess of Oscar Pistorius who competed at the Olympics despite the loss of both legs. But he is not exactly the poster boy for this any longer. His story took such a terrible terrible turn when his girlfriend was killed and he was accused of murdering her. I don't know where that story stands now.

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