The world has seen many enviable talents; those who took their careers to new dimensions; one may be tempted to say; "to a strange realm." Such people performed in peculiar realms! They made us fall in love with the way they exhibited their gifts in their chosen field.
Almost every area of human endeavour has been visited by such people; who took their profession to elevated platforms.
Time may not grant me the opportunity to mention all the great minds that have ever influenced the world positively in a similar fashion, people like Thomas Edison, Mahatma Gandhi, David Livingstone, Ernest Hemingway, Albert Einstein, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci among others.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, fondly called Pelé, touched the pitch and made football a household sport. We could say, "He touched the ball and put the whole pitch in his tiny pockets." When he was merely a young boy, he bumped into his dad, Dondinho, crying profusely.
Now, this was the issue: in those days, it was easier to make an elephant pass through a needle eye than to meet a man crying. For some strange reason, men believe the statement: "Men don't cry." It is a redundant clause now!
So was Pelé's dad a woman, since "men" don't cry? No! Was he beaten by some huge dude? No. Did he hurt himself coincidentally? No. "Why then was a full-grown man like him crying like a 2-year-old?" You may ask.
Brazil lost the world cup. And Pelé's family are Brazilians.
Now, first, take a minute to imagine you walked into a place to meet your dad crying. And, you thought to yourself: "Oh, dad must have lost an extended family member." So, you take a handkerchief and stretch it towards his face to console him only for you to hear your dad say, "Boy, we lost the world cup." How would you feel?
Dumbfounded? Exhilarated? Indifferent?
Young Pelé did not share any of such envisaged emotions because he sympathized with his dad. He made a solemn promise to him: I will "win the world cup for you, dad." (His parents, especially his dad, were supportive of his football career). "I will win the world cup for you dad"? Isn't that too much of a promise? For young Pelé, no promise relating to football was too big. The young boy was bigger than that promise; mentally.
He put in the work to make sure he fulfilled his promise to his dad. He went ahead to win the most outstanding football prizes no other footballer has dared to dream of. In the course of his international career, Pelé won a total of 10 trophies. Not 1; not 5, but 10! He is nicknamed "O Rei", which is “The king” translated into English. But who else deserves to wear the crown as he would? He scored more than 1,000 goals in his career. Without a vestige of doubt, he is “The King”!
In addition, he won the FIFA World Cup in 1958, 1962 and 1970. He still holds the record of being the only man to have won the Men's edition three good times. In 1999, he was pronounced "Athlete of the century" by the International Olympics in recognition of his expertise and contribution to the athlete.
In his lifetime, he became the Sports Minister of Brazil, after retirement. One could go on and on about this legend of football.
All the things he achieved could have been thwarted if he wasn't determined to make a great footballer of himself. He was so determined that when there was no ball to play with, he folded some pieces of clothes, papers, socks and other materials to form one. He just had to play something; he just had to kick something. In a lighter mode, I believe Pelè's mother experienced more kicks than any other mother when he was in the womb. Why? She had the Great Pelé in there; he had to kick something. Anything at all!
Be so determined as Pelé was that if there was no way for you to get to your destination, you would clear your path yourself; and if there were no materials needed to forge ahead, you would probably "invent" the materials yourself!
You can see why I commenced this article with the statement: "Edson Arantes do Nascimento is not dead!" Indeed, Pelé is not dead. He lives on in the hearts of football lovers.
Tribute to Pelé, Edson Arantes do Nascimento