Celebrating the Over-celebrated
August 20, 2010 12:19 AM Subscribe
It's Pelé Week
on The Run of Play
. Following some public spats between Maradona and Pelé
) at the recently concluded World Cup, Brian Phillips
of The Run of Play (previously featured
) observed that "it's bizarrely hard to care about [Pelé
]", despite his unquestioned legendariness and unimpeachable skill with a football. But why
? He and other writers attempt to address that question.Announcing Pelé Week
: "I’m convinced that this sad neglect of Pelé has to end."
Is Pelé underrated?
: "He may be the only player in history who was ever lost by being so completely found."
: "In Brazil, I think, they can see [Pelé] because his eternal counterpart Garrincha creates parallax, binocular vision, depth of field... For the rest of the world he stands simply alone, an ever-singular figure: the King, yes, but without the accompanying and contrasting Joy."
The End: "It’s as if he’s always due the honor of being treated as the center of the occasion, even when he isn’t; he just has to smile and wave. And that’s part of the problem, too."
Stepchild of Time: "Maybe Pelé is blessed with the fate of all origin myths, to be simultaneously ubiquitous and unrecognisable... Perhaps that’s what it really means to stand outside history."
Louis Vuitton and the Eternal Champion
: "Pelé, Maradona and Zidane all had defects, none were anything special defensively, for instance, but if they had been that might actually have sullied them.
The Best, The Best, and The Best
: "[George Best's] impact was enormous, and can only be judged in criteria which can’t be quantified, such as the extraordinary interest and affection he attracted even while repeating descending into disgrace, which of course Pelé would never do.
" George Best, previously
The Synonym: "It’s as if Pelé as a person ceased to exist, what remains is a walking icon, the institute Edison Arantes do Nascimento. He even talks about the player he used to be in the third person, as if the man who did those wonderful things no longer exists."
Pelé vs. The Animals
: "Why do you watch ESPN instead of Animal Planet?"