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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Do you read Sports Illustrated? Yeah, me neither.

But TubaDad does. And his favorite SI writer is Rick Reilly, the guy who writes the story at the end of each issue. Whenever Rick writes something particularly cool, I find a little ripped out SI page on my pillow, courtesy of my honey. And today was my favorite article yet, called "Heart and Seoul." I wish I could just link to it, but SI won't let you read the whole article unless you're a subscriber, so instead I'll give you my summary and you'll just have to subscribe or go pick up a copy from the grocery store to read the full story. In his article Rick wrote about Olympic skier Toby Dawson, who won the bronze medal last week for men's moguls. Toby was abandoned as an infant in Seoul Korea and adopted by two Vail ski instructors. They taught him to shred and also dragged him against his will to Korean Heritage Camp every year. Even though, as Toby says "All I cared about was skiing." Anyhow, he never had any interest in his heritage until one day at camp it just clicked and suddenly he heard a bunch of stories that resonated with him. One of the stories he heard was told by Rick Reilly's daughter of all people! Rick's daughter, Rae, was adopted from Seoul and had wanted to know about her birth mother her entire life. So they took her back to Korea at age 11 and somehow arranged a secretive meeting with Rae's frightened birthmother where Rae asked 3 questions through an interpreter:
Question 1: Why did you give me up? "Great shame," the woman told the interpreter, never looking at Rae. Question 2: Where's my father? "Don't know." Question 3 (a shocker): When you had me, did you get to hold me? The birth mother hung her head. "No." And that's when the interpreter said "Well, you can now." That broke the woman. She wheeled on Rae and swallowed her in her arms and kisses and sobs. Maybe the only people crying harder in that van were my wife and I. She wouldn't let Rae go. Finally, she had to. We haven't seen her since. Rae was beaming. "It feels like it fixed a little hole in my heart," she said.
Rick goes on to say that after winning the bronze medal and having his picture shown in every newspaper in South Korea, maybe Toby's birth mother will see it. He closes with "I hope somebody does. I hope Dawson makes it over this one last mogul. Because an Olympic medal can fix a lot of things, but not little holes in the heart." Great article, isn't it? Footnote: Quotes are from the Feb 27, 2006 Sports Illustrated magazine article written by Rick Reilly titled "Heart and Seoul." Rae's mother was a scared, unwed 16 year old when she gave Rae up for adoption.