Edson Arantes do Nascimento. AKA Pele.
The Legend of Pele
While reading this book, I walked around town with it. Three people stopped me from seeing if it was about the Pele they knew, and two offered to purchase it from me. Nearly everyone knows Pele. It is a surprise, given that Pele stopped playing football in the 1970s. It means all of those born between the 1980s upwards did not see him play. Those in their 40s did not see him play. Yet, we all know him.
What’s the story of this black man from brazil?
Behind every legend is a human being. All of us are born mortals, just that a few become legends. It began with Pele’s father, Dondinho, who was a footballer himself. His career was cut short by an injury. Throughout his playing days, he could not make plenty of money to support his family. His wife, Celeste Dona, Pele’s mother, never forgot this. She vowed that her children would not play football, that they would go to school and become something “better.” She did not know his son’s destiny was written in the stars. Pele was a normal kid with everyday passions and childhood truancy. He flunked school, indulged in childhood adventures, and formed a football team. They played without shoes, so much they named themselves “The Shoeless Ones.” One day, a community tournament took place. In that tournament, Pele shone brightly, and his team won the tournament.
The Mentor- Waldemar De Brito
Waldemar De Brito convinced Pele’s parents, especially his mother, to allow Pele to play outside of their town, Bauru. It was a real struggle. But Waldemar won, and Pele was released to travel to Santos. It was there that the legend would be made. Without Waldemar, we can say that the world would not have known of Pele.
Pele’s confession of his mishandling of finances and wrong judgments in this area made me think a lot. It is surprising how creative people make this mistake repeatedly. I could see the same pattern in Muhammad Ali, whose biography I read last year. Creativity does not replace financial intelligence. (Note to self, don’t ever forget this.)
As someone passionate about education, I could not help but notice that Pele went back to school at the age of 34 after he retired from football. This was his one regret. He wished he had done better in school when he was a kid. Thankfully, he got a chance to rectify it. He described the struggle to get his degree in detail. Education remains a potent tool for personal transformation, and Pele realized this. It made him a better man.
Pele’s view on family is piercing. His thoughts on the role of the family are instructive for many people. I enjoyed reading them. Of course, he had family problems. And he made his own errors. However, reading the reflection of the man could set you on the path to doing better than him. I’m grateful he wrote these words.
Pele’s career spanned two decades. He scored 1,279 goals. He won three World Cups, the only player to have done that, and he has become a global icon of football. He played for Santos in Brazil and Cosmos in the United States.
Pele’s life rebranded the game of football. His legend was transported worldwide by those who had seen him play, on the radio and television. He said all he was given by God was football, and indeed, he made the best of it. He inspired hope in the hearts of many people, and he lived in a way that set an example for others. This memoir is the best introduction to his humility. Of course, he does not write about this, but you can sense it in the way he narrates his story.
Yes, Pele is gone. He died on 29th December 2022 . But this legend of “The Beautiful Game”, cannot die. The O Rei lives on. So far as football is played on earth, Pele will be a reference point. Andy Warhol wrote, “Pele is one of the first who contradicted my theory, instead of fifteen minutes of fame, he will have fifteen centuries”.
This was an excellent read.