With the Brazilian World Cup coming this Summer, I am going to bring up an old soccer icon: Pele. He was considered by many as the greatest soccer player of all time, having won three World Cups and scoring the most goals of any players out there.
His story goes that he had played some 1,363 games and made some 1,281 goals. His record still has not been broken.
Pele grew up poor, couldn’t afford a soccer ball, and would play soccer barefoot. He had the talent, but many early games he couldn’t even make the penalty goals. He felt so discouraged that he would hide from his practice. He picked up smoking. All reasons that could have led him to fail, if his teammates hadn’t supported him.
After I researched this, I realised a lot of times, people can get so easily discouraged. My daughter had always wanted to become the best basketball player in B.C. She started playing when she was in the fifth grade — purely recreationally, and she fell in love with the sport. Grade eight came, and her high school was selecting players for their basketball team. She was not one of the obvious choices because of her height. But she worked very hard to become the best & the brightest on her team. She went on to lead her team to a city championship as the captain and the point guard!
The same situation happened with my son’s high school admittance, where only 30 kids are hand-picked through a very intensive interview process, and have to pass a provincial(similar to a state) exam. Quite a challenge for such a young age. My son going to the interview was asked, “What is considered a Great student?” His answer was simple & precise.
“If I get a C and I think I have tried my best, that’s a great student,” he explained. Whereas, “If I get an A and felt I haven’t really tried my best, it means nothing!”
What a brilliant answer! I was so impressed. My son went on to pass his Grade 8 piano with honors and was awarded one of five academic excellence recipient in his graduating class! My daughter went on to become the MVP in her Grade 10th year beating out hundreds of other nominees! She also became a four-sport athlete: soccer, basketball, field hockey, and volleyball.
Why I mention this is because kids are an extension of their parents. My husband & I have always encouraged them to try their best, and be the BEST!
I have exposed them to our running and how running has set very high, attainable goals. They have definitely followed in our footsteps. My own running record speaks for itself. I have gone from a purely recreational runner to someone who now inspires other runners!
I think my message to my readers here is that one’s journey has to be guided by a mentor, a coach, a friend, a family or simply a stranger who believes in you! Never, ever give up. The road may be long & winding, but you yourself have to give that 110%.
Everybody is born into this world with a special talent. You may not be the best, but, as my son said, ”effort” overcomes everything! Therefore, you may not be born runners, but we can train ourselves to become one. The process is joyful and rewarding!
I have become a marathon maniac (39 marathons), half fanatic (40 halves), a multiple marathoner (15 marathons in 365 days), and last but not least, a SAN FRANCISCO MARATHON AMBASSADOR! I am so honored to be part of this wonderful team.
Therefore, I offer you a quote by the great poet William Ernest Henley:
“I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”