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Peter Underwood: A True Lesson in Santosha

I’ve been debating about sharing this for a while.  However, I’m just getting back from a yoga class focused on meditation, where the instructor focused on Santosha, meaning Contentment.  I felt like it was a sign that this needed to be shared.  (Also, PLEASE DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE.)

Early last Saturday morning, my good friend’s husband sadly passed away after being hit head on by a pick up truck that was going the wrong way on an exit ramp.  This happened around 7am in Iowa where my friend Peter was on a recruitment trip, as he was Assistant Coach for the Women’s Soccer Team at University of Nebraska.  The pick up driver was drunk.  Peter was married to my friend Austin and is father to their two gorgeous children Lyla (2 years old) and Jude (6 month.)

164846_875855815838_7370822_n From Austin and Peter’s wedding – January 2011

Sorry to be so blunt about the topic, but it provides the perspective for where I’m going.  Lately, I’ve often found myself waking up on the wrong side of the bed.  Upset about living my life in a constant state of repetition – wake up, drive to work, work (probably skip lunch), drive home, quick workout, dinner (probably while watching TV), blog, go to bed.  Wake up and do it all again.  But what I always found fascinating about Peter, and which he truly passed along to his close friends and family, was a feeling of true contentment.  He would take every situation as it came and find blessings and growth in everyday.  In recent days, as stories come out from those closest to him, I find this to be even more the case than I knew!

Living this life is a gift.  How can we grow to find the pleasures/gifts/blessings in every day to become happier and more fulfilled?  Live every day with Santosha.

5558c37639725.image Peter with their son Jude – November 2014

Should you be interested in learning more about Peter, his team’s student manager provided a touching tribute written for her fellow students.  Please feel free to read if you feel so inclined.  Condolences may be sent to the family at: Underwood Family, P.O. Box 880120, One Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE, 68588 and Memorials may be directed to U.S. Bank branch offices or can be mailed to Peter Underwood Memorial Fund, U.S. Bank, 1440 S. 70th St., Lincoln, NE, 68506.

As written by Lauren Reams on May 17, 2015:

As the unfortunate passing of a Husker assistant soccer coach makes headlines across local media outlets, the news about the passing of an incredible father, husband and friend hits closer to home for many of us.

Peter Underwood, a native of London, England, and one of the assistant coaches of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s women’s soccer team for the past four seasons, died in a car accident Saturday morning. He leaves behind his wife, Austin, and two beautiful children, Lyla and Jude (pictured above).

I have been fortunate enough to work with the Nebraska women’s soccer program for nearly two years as the head and traveling student manager. And with a demanding practice and travel schedule, I worked closely with Coach Underwood each season.

Coach Underwood is a man that can’t be justified into one column. His lasting impact on the soccer program will never be measurable.

Instead of focusing on his career as the 2013 Big Ten Conference regular-season and tournament title-winning assistant coach, I want to share the person I had the pleasure of annoying for the past three soccer seasons.

While the phenomenal drive and talent he brought to the program every day was astonishing, his character and attitude was inspiring.

In the soccer office, he was often called “Pita,” “Pistol Pete” or – after editing his own contact information in my phone – “The Man, The Myth, The Legend.”

Knowing the Peter I was blessed to work beside, he would want to be referred to as “Pistol” in this column, so – stick with me – that’s how I’ll be referring to him.

Many mourn the loss of such a passionate and enthusiastic coach, but those who knew him mourn the loss of a much greater value.

It’s never easy or fair to write about the passing of a friend and what they meant to you with mere words, but here it goes.

Pistol’s light and persona were contagious. If he was excited about an upcoming game, you were also excited. His bright smile lightened the darkest moods and encouraged you to smile.

If someone was looking for Pistol, whether it be in a hotel during one of the traveling games or in the Hawks Championship Center, you would typically find him pacing the indoor field or hallway with his iPad in hand watching The Office and adding steps to his Fitbit. He was in a competition with coaches John Walker and Marty Everding, along with student managers Ashley Peters and myself, to see who could walk the most each day.

The winner was always Pistol.

While his love for soccer was substantial, the love for his family was endless.

He was a devoted and loving father to his daughter Lyla and newborn son Jude. During traveling games, he would always make time to FaceTime his family, whether it be on a bus, airport or during a video game analysis.

Pistol would always show me what I called as “Lyla Updates” to keep me updated with all of Lyla’s cutest pictures, dances, and her playing in a playhouse he and his wife recently created in their basement with a portrait of their dog, Biggles hanging above it.

He was also a perfectionist. He demanded perfection, not just for his own benefit, but to make the team and staff stronger. The always late nights of statistic and video analysis, practice setup, team preparation and scheduling is what kept the team successful and competitive.

His love and compassion for others was unwavering. He truly cared about the success of each one of his players on and off the field and was always their biggest advocate. His work revolved around the betterment of the team, and not himself.

Pistol was a role model whether he would admit or not. His heavy schedule required constant travel, long hours and lack of sleep and not once did he complain. He always made sure to support the team and staff each season, and be the family man everyone envied.

His quirks were what made him likeable. He loved sweets and could eat them constantly. He was allergic to carrots, but if he was eating something he liked that already contained them, he would continue to eat it. He hated country music. When I would babysit his children, I would film his daughter dancing to a Jason Aldean song and send it to him, just to annoy him. It typically ended with him threatening to fire me.

There is so much more I could say about Pistol, but as I write this, I – and everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him – are at a loss of words.

I am stunned that such an amazing and young soul with an extraordinary future ahead could be taken so suddenly. The unfortunate truth that his children won’t grow up with their father tears at my heart.

But instead of crying and demanding answers as to why someone with so much to live for had to die, I instead choose to celebrate the life of Pistol, because he absolutely deserves it.

To everyone reading this, Pistol’s death is an example of why you should never take a moment for granted. Hug someone you love a little closer today, because in a flash it could be all over.

Someone as remarkable and kind-hearted as Peter John Underwood deserves much more than what I have had to say, but I hope that others can begin to understand the man I was fortunate enough to not only call my boss, but also my friend.

I will never be able to convey this enough: Lincoln lost someone truly special on Saturday. But the lives of those he personally touched will ever be grateful.

Rest in peace, Pistol. The Man, The Myth, The Legend.


How can you focus on living with contentment?  How can we take the life of Peter to inspire us to live a fuller life?  Again, PLEASE DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!

Create a great life!

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