Like many Americans, every two years I become afflicted with a debilitating contagion. The symptoms, which include long periods of stasis on the sofa and irregular fits of shouting at and with those around me, are similar to another disease that rears its ugly head every March. Unlike most infections though, when the 16 day sickness subsides I enter a period of melancholy and wish the incubation period for the next contagion was already here.
I am of course referring to the Olympics, which is without a doubt my favorite sporting event in the world, rivaled only by March Madness. I love all of the games, whether it’s alpine skiing or archery, bobsleigh or beach volleyball, curling or cycling. That is why I consider myself extremely lucky to have attended both summer (Atlanta 1996) and winter (Turin 2006) games. For how much enjoyment I got watching those games in person though, I can only imagine the feeling of watching a loved one compete for gold and glory.
Outside of winning a medal yourself, nothing could beat watching your own child compete for their country. But for retired bus driver Ellis Hill, getting to Rio to see his son compete for Team USA in the shot put, even with the extra income he made as an Uber driver, was just too expensive. At least until he picked up Liz Willock in a DNC-gridlocked Philadelphia on July 26th. During their hour long ride, the senior Hill told Willock how proud he was of his son Darrell and how much he was looking forward to watching him represent his country during the greatest competition on Earth, albeit from 4,800 miles away on his TV.
Touched by his story, Willock decided to make Ellis Hill’s American dream come true by setting up a GoFundMe to cover Hill’s travel expenses. After 152 people donated a total of $8,200, Ellis Hill is packing his bags for Rio. You can watch him watch his son from the stands on Thursday, August 18th.