Deep flow video: Gratitude and Team Hoyt

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Every year around this time, the media is flooded with articles and stories about gratitude. Which makes us all feel good for a few days, until we move on to complaining and forget to honor what is right in our lives, no matter how small, each day.

Well, gratitude is not a problem for Dick and Rick Hoyt, a father and son team who have competed in more than nine hundred road races, marathons and triathlons. The thing is, Dick is in his late 60s and Rick is in his 40s and has been wheelchair bound without the ability to speak since birth.

Of the two, Rick Rielly recently wrote in Sports Illustrated:

This love story began in Winchester , Mass. , 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 And his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. “Put him in an Institution.”

But the Hoyts weren’t buying it. They noticed the way Rick’s eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. “No way,” Dick says he was told. “There’s nothing going on in his brain.”

“Tell him a joke,” Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain. Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? “Go Bruins!” And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, “Dad, I want to do that.”

Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described “porker” 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!”

That set in motion a lifetime of competition that has brought the two around the country and the world. And, as Rick confided in that same Sports Illustrated piece, “The thing I’d most like is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.”

Watch the video. Then watch it again. Then, move beyond talking about being grateful once a year and begin to live gratitude.

Stongest-Dad-in-the-world-races-with-Handicapped-son”>videosift.comTake this simple starting step. Create a gratitude journal. Every morning before you roll out of bed, write down 5 simple things you are grateful for in your life. They need not be big, just real.

Then move into your day and, over time, you’ll begin to notice something extraordinary…life gets lighter. This isn’t just foofy propaganda, it is the conclusion of some pretty fascinating research on the impact of gratitude journaling on pervasive happiness.

It’s real. It’s tested. And, it’ll will cost you nothing and take less than 5 minutes. You have nothing to lose by trying. So, give it a whirl. This time, maybe for the first time in your life, move beyond talking the gratitude talk and begin walking the gratitude walk.

And, as always, feel free to share your thoughts, ideas, questions and experiences in the comments below.

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6 responses

6 responses to “Deep flow video: Gratitude and Team Hoyt”

  1. Jonathan,

    Thanks for sharing this! I heard of Team Hoyt shortly after my daughter suffered her brain injury at 18 months of age. The first time I saw the video of them I cried like a baby.

    They are such an encouragement to me and my wife to keep going even in the toughest of times. People often ask us how we do it, and it is really simple. What other alternative do we have?

    We could have just sat in the corner and cried and become bitter and angry people at the cards that we were dealt. But, we decided to take it one day at a time and deal with it.

    Our daughter is now 7 and in second grade. Although she can’t talk or sit up on her own, we love her tremendously. Sure we would like her to be “typical” but the smiles and laughs that she gives us each day encourage us to keep going.

    When you think you can’t get it any tougher, just keep in mind that there is someone out there that has it worse than you. Be grateful for both the good and bad times in your life, as the bad times make the good times better!

    Happy Thanksgiving to all!

    My daughters site:

  2. Jonathan Fields says:

    Hey Elliott,

    Thanks for sharing your story. I confess to being reduced to a blabbering pile of tears every time I watch it, too. Probably, because I am a father, too.

    Gives you pause to wonder if there is really anything that’s not possible.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Diane Ward says:


    I had the pleasure of meeting both Dick & Rick Hoyt when they spoke at a conference I attended in October 2006 in Hawaii. The power of their message: Love and gratitude, and the power of saying “Yes I can”…and NEVER giving up.

    That same evening they both attended the Black Tie Dinner….to see Rick in his Tuxedo…I’m not sure who was more proud…Dick, Rick…or all of us….to be witness to such magnificence.

  4. Thank you for this post. I’m going through a difficult time right now. On Oct. 18th,I had ankle surgery (righ ankle fused together due to breaking it 20 plus years ago).

    I’ve only lived in my city for a year and have few friends and no family around to help. It is so disheartening to need groceries or need my laundry done (laundry is in the basement) and have no one to help.

    One thing I am grateful for is realizing how far I’ve come. I heard a man on TV that is reported to being a Secret Santa to those in need. He gives $100s away to people in laundry mats or thrift stores. Actually he is continuing the work of the original Secret Santa who recently died.

    Why was I grateful for hearing about this? Because the first time (many years ago) of the original Secret Santa I truly felt like one of those people he helped. I was really broke and hadn’t started college and I was really struggling. I remember thinking, if only he had seen me (selfish but that was where I was at the time).

    So, I heard it again tonight, and though I am in need for lots of things, I am not as needy as I was back then. I actually realized I was not one of the people he should help- if I was mobile I’d go out and find someone to give to- even if it was only a little.

    I am grateful for graduating a year and half ago, the job I can go back to, for the small amount of money that is keeping me afloat during this time of not working and roof over my head.

    Thanks for letting me share.

  5. Opps! I meant to say, the first time I heard about the original Secret Santa…

    (This is the paragraph I’m refering to…
    Why was I grateful for hearing about this? Because the first time (many years ago) THAT I HEARD of the original Secret Santa I truly felt like one of those people he helped. I was really broke and hadn’t started college and I was really struggling. I remember thinking, if only he had seen me (selfish but that was where I was at the time).

  6. […] above quote is from a blog, Awake at the wheel  , that includes inspiring video and an equally interesting post.  Read the post and watch the […]