People often recognize pieces of their own lives in the lives of others, whether it be because they have shared experiences, are physically similar, or share other traits. These traits might include actions, a way of life, or life-altering choices.
In the book Seabiscuit: An American Legend, the author describes how people adopted the dream of a horse and jockey as their own dream to succeed and carry on with their lives despite all obstacles, no matter how big or small, during one of the most trying times in American history, the great depression.
We need to know about the lives that Seabiscuit and “red” Pollard led, which were both very difficult.
The second of seven children—Jim, Bill, Edie, Betty, Norah, and Bubbles—born to an Irish immigrant couple who immigrated to the United States in 1850, “Red” Pollard was born in 1909. Although Pollard’s family was not wealthy, they were able to achieve practically all of their goals because they put in a lot of effort to have a brighter future. They started a brick industry, but in 1915 a natural calamity destroyed all of the equipment, supplies, and labor. Because Pollard’s home was even destroyed, Johnny’s father decided that Bill and Johnny would become boxers at an early age in order to earn some money to provide for and clothe the whole family.
Both of them were skilled boxers, but “Red” never had the strength that his brother did; nonetheless, “Red” had other qualities; Johnny was very intelligent and well-spoken despite being smaller and slimmer than his brother. He enjoyed reading a lot and wanted to be well-prepared. He genuinely enjoyed studying, but the environment in the classroom at school stifled him, which is why he had terrible marks. Disappointed in himself and everything he enjoyed, he changed into a completely different person. His joy was jubilation, his humor cutting, and his grief an endless chasm. His fury was a fierce passion (Hillenbrand,2004,p.62).
When Johnny’s father saw “Red’s” conduct, he attempted to assist him by purchasing a horse to serve as a reminder of who he was and what his true desires were. Johnny first used the horse to bring packages to the town and earn extra money for the family, but when he learned he enjoyed riding and that he had a nice physique for racing, that was the moment he decided he wanted to be a jockey. Because he was so young, his mother disagreed with the choice, but his father backed him, and when he was fifteen, he traveled to Montana to race on a legitimate racetrack. The only requirement was that he go with a family friend who would look after him, but once the race was over, the family friend vanished, leaving “Red” alone himself and far from home. Since this time, “Red” has endured cruel treatment and punches, and he even lost his sight in one eye due to a little stone that got in his way during a race. Because he understood that life wasn’t a fairy tale and that he needed to be resilient to live, he altered his conduct and became as unpleasant as when he was in school, if not worse. But despite the hits, John’s objective and goals remained constant in his eyes. Because he was a free spirit and simply wanted to be himself and do what he loved, which was racing and winning, he fought for them every single day.
When Seabiscuit was born in 1933, it was anticipated that he and his brother would also be successful racehorses since their father was one. The ordinary stable horse spends barely five minutes at a time laying down to sleep, nearly often at night, but Seabiscuit was a different kind of horse. He loved doing different things than the other horses in the stable, and sleeping was his favorite activity (Hillenbrand, 2004, p.45). He “slept long and late,” which was bad for his owner since he regularly lost horse races. As a result, Seabiscuit was overweight; in addition to being lethargic, he also ate more than other horses while being smaller than them. In order to teach Seabiscuit how to work and also because they needed money and Seabiscuit was useless if he didn’t win a horse race, the owner of Seabiscuit instructed the trainer to give Seabiscuit a difficult routine. In addition to the difficult work, the rider was also instructed to beat the horse with the goal of building a strong character. “Just see how many times you can strike him running a quarter of a mile” (Hillenbrand, 2004, p. 46) (Hillenbrand, 2004, p.46).
But despite all of these interventions, Seabiscuit continued to be sluggish because that was how he understood his life to be and because he just wanted to be happy. No matter how many beatings he took, he persisted in that behavior. This is why the plan failed. Because it was so difficult to change Seabiscuit, his owner assumed that he would remain lethargic until he died. However, what the owner didn’t understand was that Seabiscuit had altered his behavior. He transformed from a calm and cuddly creature to an edgy, nasty, and hostile horse who refused anyone standing close to him as a result of the poor treatment he experienced throughout his training. Seabiscuit was now terrified of humans, and the only way to keep them away was to present a threat so they would be fearful of him.
Although it is impossible to imagine that an animal and a person might have identical lives, in this specific instance, there are many parallels between the two. Both of the protagonists had a challenging upbringing; the events they went through had a significant impact on their adult lives, such as being forced to live away from home and family. People beat them and made them alter so they could develop more quickly. In Seabiscut’s instance, the punishment made him become a legitimate racehorse. Because they needed to earn money to exist, they both lost their childhoods and the opportunity to play and be happy. Due to his isolation, “Red” requires money to feed and live an almost satisfactory existence alone, but Seabiscuit needs money to be seen as a more respectable horse for racing and to have a spot in the stable. The hard effort they put in for both of them was in vain since Seabiscuit, despite the great work his trainer put into training him, was regarded as the most lazy horse ever and “Red” Pollard, despite his rigorous training, was the worst rider ever.
They were always arguing with people because of their shared conduct, which is another trait they share. Additionally, no one had any faith in them since they were insignificant compared to other jockeys and horses, respectively. The only difference I could find in the book between these two characters was that “Red” Pollard was too tall, and Seabiscuit was too short to be a racehorse. As a result, as I previously stated, Seabiscuit was only used in low-class competition because, in contrast to other horses, he lacked the abilities and the disposition necessary to win. Due to these factors, maintaining his complexion was more difficult for him since jockeys are required to maintain a certain weight of no more than 114 pounds. (2004) Hillenbrand, p. 80 He had to make additional effort to maintain his weight, which had an adverse effect on his ability to perform his work. Like many jockeys, he also endured harmful special diets.
After everything went wrong for them, however, they were almost simultaneously discovered by Charles Howard and Tom Smith, who decided to give both of them a second chance to show their true abilities in a supportive setting and under the guidance of a trainer who truly understood how to train without punishment. Smith immediately saw a spirit in Seabiscuit, and he shared it with “Red” Pollard. Both of them possessed a competitive spirit, bravery, and a strong sense of spirit. Since this point, their lives have taken a different turn for both of them, and they were adopted by a family as actual members. This is because Charles, Smith, Pollard, and Seabiscuit were not just individuals seeking financial gain from horse races; rather, they were a group in which each member was vital to the group’s continued existence and success. Additionally, “Red” was a supported member of a family for the first time since leaving Montana. Not to add that Seabiscuit had a trainer that respected what he actually wanted, had the time to work with him, and treated him as a horse rather than simply another tool for racing horses.
Since they first met, “Red” and Seabiscuit had undergone changes; they were anguished souls who had begun a new existence. They began to become better every day, both individually and together. They transformed from being unknown to the talk of the town, but Seabiscuit changed the most with the assistance of Pollard and Smith. “Seabiscuit figured out the game at last. In him, Smith and Pollard had discovered a “more natural tendency to run than any horse I have ever seen,” in Smith’s words. At that point, they started to become legendary since Smith was aware that he had the greatest horse in America and the ability to improve his jockey’s skills (Hillenbrand, 2004, p. 127). (Hillenbrand, 2004, p.141).
The team’s affection for one another developed as their objectives were steadily and firmly attained. Society backed them not only because they prevailed in every race but also because they set the finest example and kept moving ahead against all odds. Seabiscuit and “Red” competed against the greatest horses to win, and they always prevailed.
The fact that they suffered injuries virtually at the same time while racing a friend’s horse, “Red,” truly impressed me about the novel. He had multiple fractured ribs, a clavicle that had broken into innumerable pieces, several internal injuries, and a damaged shoulder. Pollard’s chest had almost caved in (Hillenbrand, 2004, p.197). Seabiscuit had an ailment later on, and “he could tell that it was the ankle that had gone awry,” according to him (Hillenbrand, 2004, p.340) A doctor made the diagnosis for both, and they would never be able to race again. Beyond the diagnosis, though, they accomplished the extraordinary as a group. They put forth a lot of effort, recovered gradually but steadily, and did so even when the majority of people believed that their careers were ended. They rose from the ashes like a phoenix. That really inspires me since if it had been another person or horse, they would have just chosen the easy path out, which would have been to give up. With the respect they had by defeating the war admiral, but, the team had faith in one another, and “Red” didn’t care about his health or not competing again; he simply wanted to do what he loved, while Seabiscuit desired freedom.
This novel is based on a real tale about a little kid who never lost his goals and about a family that not only adopted him but also his aspirations for success. The tale of a gentleman who believes that everyone deserves a second chance and the tale of a country obsessed with a little horse called Seabiscuit. Throughout the story, human and animal characters become both best friends and a vital part of one another, supporting one another through both happy and difficult times.
As we can see, there are many similarities between these two real people, including their childhoods, life experiences, the difficult work they had to do, the second chance they had and how they seized it, how their career was viewed, their injuries, and how they once again made an impression on society when they returned to their professions to win once more and make history.
Using this as an example, I believe that sometimes when we feel alone, we need support, something, or someone that gives us hope to continue. When Seabiscuit and “Red” first met, they were each other’s support system and soul mates since they exhibited the same behaviors and had the same aspirations and dreams. They were warriors, and nothing was insurmountable for them. Because of this, society looked to them for inspiration and achievement at a time when the country was at its worst.
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