On Wednesday evening, the 20th annual ESPY Awards were televised on ESPN. I will admit—I never had watched these awards before. Maybe a quick flip-through, but never a beginning to end. My mom and I were visiting Calgary, Alberta, this evening and were out to dinner at Saltlik (a delicious steakhouse!) During the meal, we could see the ESPY’s being televised. After our meal was complete, we transitioned to the bar to split a bottle of wine. We had a straight on view of the ESPY’s from here and a few minutes after sitting down, they started discussing the recipients of the Jimmy V Perseverance Award.
Since the TV didn’t even have closed captioning and no sound was being emitted, my mom and I watched the video segment in silence, but in awe. The recipients of this award were Dick and Rick Hoyt, a father son team from Boston, Massachusetts, who since the 1970s have been competing in any road race you can think of—-triathlons, marathons, half marathons, and even Ironman races. The thing is, Rick has cerebral palsy and must be pushed in a wheelchair during all these events.
I had heard of the Hoyt’s before, though I admit, I did not know many fine details about their race history, their bond to Boston, among other things. But what I find interesting and reflected on is that my mom had never heard of them. I don’t fault her, but, she isn’t a runner and doesn’t live in Boston…so how would she know? My husband had heard of them but knew very little. He is not a runner either—he plays basketball and may be the only Toronto Raptors diehard fan in the world. And I bet there are many other non-runners out there who had know idea who these two were until their video played on the ESPY stage.
It is a shame that our highly paid and highly celebrated pro football athletes, NBA athletes, NHL players and all other glorified professional team sport athletes are more well known and more looked up to than a team who is so powerful and has made such an impact in their sport. The Hoyt’s, according to their website, have run 1077 events, as of April 2012. Boston 2013 would have been added to that, but about four miles from the finish line, the horrible bombing occurred. Their times are ridiculous—Dick was never a runner before his son asked him to push him in a local race. After years of hard, dedicated training, he was making fantastic times in many road races. It says in their site their best half marathon time is 1:21:12!! That is crazy for any individual, but the fact Dick is pushing Rick for 13.1 miles makes it even more astounding.
I really wanted to reflect on the Hoyt’s today because after seeing their ESPY speech, I immediately found it online so I could actually hear the whole thing, not just watch it in silence at a bar. Thinking about all the struggles and hardships their family had to go through in the early years of Rick’s life, the early races the men did together, and the accomplishments they have made so far, is really motivational. I know people will always say “Never give up. Don’t say you can’t. Don’t quit.” Those are just words. When you see their story played out and think about how fortunate we are to have the ability to run on our own two legs, you realize that even on that hot 90 degree day there is no excuse to stop running. There is no excuse to quit. The Hoyt’s, in my eyes, are America’s Dream Team.
Below is the best links I could find to their ESPY presentation in full. The first link is the presentation in full, though not highest quality. Below are higher quality versions. The first is their video story, and the second is their acceptance of their award. If you haven’t seen it, please take 10 minutes and watch. Then, head to their website so you can read more about them, as the video only shows highlights.
This link is the whole presentation in full (try this first)
ESPY presentation-Team Hoyt
If that doesn’t work, try both of these in order:
Team Hoyt Video-ESPYs
Team Hoyt Award Acceptance-ESPY