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 Life Lessons September 9, 2006

Steve Truscott
Owner and Master Instructor


Strongest Dad in the World
[As reported by Rick Reilly 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.

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!"

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.

Many marathons later somebody said, "Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?"

How's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried.

Now Dick's done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii. Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son 26.2 miles in marathons. Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike.

And what has Rick done for his father? Not much - except save his life.

Two years ago Dick had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. "If you hadn't been in such great shape," one doctor told him, "you probably would've died 15 years ago."

So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life.

"The thing I'd most like," Rick types, "is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once."

The Hoyts are living Tae Kwon Do's final tenet - indomitable spirit. At Family Karate, building an undefeatable inner strength is the ultimate goal of Black Belt training for life. Please call or e-mail me for a complimentary month of classes for you and your family.

And ... if you would like to actually see these remarkable men in action just hop on the internet and visit Stand by to be amazed!

Steve Truscott is the Principal of Family Karate and welcomes your comments at (760) 746-0983 or

Family Karate has been strengthening families in North County for over 35 years. Family Karate currently has campuses in Escondido, 4S Ranch, Penasquitos, Solana Beach, and Carmel Valley. Family Karate Instructors teach Life Lessons in many of our public and private elementary schools.

Steve Truscott, the son of missionaries, was raised in India, educated in British schools. His first language was Marathi, the language of west India, his second was Hindi, third was English. Today he is only fluent in English but understands the other two languages. Family Karate has five locations in San Diego County with over 1000 students, 250 in Escondido alone. Respect, Responsibility, Courtesy, Integrity, all are taught first, at Family Karate. Call 746-0983




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