Nov. 17, 2005 • Volume 14 Number 6
Documentary captures Hoyt's accomplishments
The amazing accomplishments of father-son athletic competitors and Boston Marathon fixtures Dick and Rick Hoyt are depicted in a new documentary by Boston College filmmakers set to premiere on campus Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. in the Yawkey Athletics Center.
"Rick's Eyes on the Prize: Running with Team Hoyt," written by the Hoyts and documentarian Prof. John Michalczyk (Fine Arts), tells a personal account of how father and son faced Rick's cerebral palsy diagnosis and why they chose to take on the challenges of marathons and triathlons.
Team Hoyt has participated in more than 900 athletic competitions - never coming in last place, Dick Hoyt proudly notes. Along the way they have broken many barriers.
In the film, the elder Hoyt recounts how doctors encouraged him to put his cerebral palsy-afflicted son in an institution. Instead, Rick remained at home with his family. He learned to communicate through technology and eventually graduated from college.
At their first Boston Marathon in 1981, they ran unofficially. They weren't exactly like the runners or exactly like the wheelchair competitors, says Dick Hoyt. They have since completed more than 20 Boston Marathons. In 1996, the Boston Marathon's 100th anniversary, Team Hoyt was honored by the race's organizer and sponsor as "Centennial Heroes." They have also competed in the grueling Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii and last month led that event's Parade of Nations.
In the film, Rick communicates the appeal of racing: "People sometimes treat me as if I'm not there, but when I'm racing I don't feel any of that."
The film is part of the "I'm in Here" series of documentaries by Boston College filmmakers that tell personal stories about living with disabilities, based on scripts co-written by the disabled person. According to the producers, the "I'm in Here" series strives to help integrate the disabled into society by increasing public consciousness and highlighting the normalcy felt by the disabled.
"Rick's Eyes on the Prize" was produced and directed by O'Neill Library Circulation Assistant Ronald Marsh and Michalczyk. The executive producer is Philip DiMattia, director of BC's Campus School for children and youth with severe disabilities. Rick Hoyt worked at the Campus School testing "Eagle Eyes," technology developed by BC professors that allows non-verbal students to communicate via computer.
Rick's message in the film is this: "If people who watch us compete could just begin to understand that the disabled are normal, that we have rich, productive lives-that's all I ask. That's my prize."
Funding for "Rick's Eyes on the Prize" has been provided by Boston College, the Jacques Salmanowitz Program, the John T. Alden Trust and the Campus School Volunteers.
The event, which will include a post-screening discussion with the film's producers, is open to the public. For more information, call the Fine Arts Department at ext.2-4295.
-Kathleen Sullivan •