I have known lots of professional athletes, politicians, writers, artists and musicians. A lot of jockeys. A lot of daredevils. I’ve known Sidney Underwood since she was a beautiful teenager who came from the fields of Alabama to the big city where both she and I would work for many years.
I saw Sidney take on the assignment of facing the east coast’s best – Rick Wilson, Julie Krone, Joe Bravo, Chris Antley and too many others, here and gone. What I have never seen is somebody so determined as Sidney, not only for task, but for life itself. When we became friends she showed me photos of her childhood and I could see that she practiced being good at horsemanship, day and night, for years before taking on the guys in professional race riding. I was there the night Sidney took a leg up and went down, just minutes after winning a race with a horse named Pray For Me.
I was Sidney’s friend during the months she spent in hospitals. I saw her come home and learn to drive a car again; exercise to make her upper body strong enough to act as all four limbs; cook; clean her house and then, get back up on a horse again!
I saw her shake off a life sentence of what would finish off most people – but not Sidney. She become a horse trainer. Now, through tears, I saw her draped in her wedding dress today.
Sidney Underwood, an icon. Bigger than life, braver than me. She is a living example for all of us walking around feeling mopey. God put her here to show us how to overcome adversity and remain successful.
Although I will never reach her heights, I am grateful to have been a witness to such magnitude. Thank you, Sidney Underwood. And, good luck with your marriage.