Pele: A Legend is Born

In an upset-for-the-record-books in 1950, Uruguay beat Brazil for a World Cup win that took the breath of a nation away. Stunned silence swept across the country as Brazilians slowly realized: there is nothing certain about victory. Disbelief turned to despair and the hush was broken by the mournful sounds of a grieving people.

Edson Arantes do Nascimentos remembers that day.

He was a boy of nine and he had been playing outside with friends, he recalls. When an eerie quiet descended on his usually lively neighborhood, he ran indoors to see what was going on; what had happened? What he found, inside his modest family home, was a scene that would shape the course of his life.

A lasting image, that in a very real way is responsible for the man and the athlete that child was destined to become.

The boy saw his father, sitting in a chair, next to the radio, sobbing. Frightened, the child asked his dad what was wrong? The man replied, brokenheartedly, that they had lost the World Cup. Edson, eager to stop his father’s tears, told him, “Don’t worry Papa, one day I will win the World Cup for you!” And he did, three times!

The legend of Pele began.

Nascimentos grew up to be called Pele, a name that means miracle in Hebrew. A rather poetic designation when you consider the importance of Faith to the devoted Catholic. On or off the field his impact on a game, a country and a world transcended any single players athletic ability or experience. He caught our imagination, and realized our hopes. He showed us dreams can come true…if we try.

The many anecdotes associated with Pele serve as guideposts – even now – for how to succeed in life. The secret to that success? Pele said it best:

Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.

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