Negron: I Love Pele, But My Dad Is My Hero

I was recently sitting down with my nephew Michael. He was telling me about his love for soccer and that the first toy he can remember was a soccer ball. He has been playing organized soccer since he was four years old. He is 12 years old and feels the love of the sport now more than ever. As we spoke, he was looking at different pictures. I instantly noticed one of little Michael and his dad standing with one of the most recognizable figures in the world, the great soccer star, Pele. If you know anything about sports, you know that Pele is the Babe Ruth of soccer. I asked Michael what he knew about Pele and he was able to tell me a great deal about this legends accomplishments. Michael told me that he had his instructional videos at home and has read some of Pele’s books.

img_7111I asked him if Pele was his hero. Michael thought for a moment then said,”No, my hero is my Dad.” I told him that I thought it was great that his dad was his hero and told him that I thought every kid should think that way about their parents. I told him that I was proud of him. When he walked away I decided to Google his dad and I was shocked at what I was reading.

Michael Windischmann was on the 1988 USA Olympic Soccer team and was captain of the 1990 USA team in the World Cup. Professionally Michael played in the major indoor soccer league and the American soccer league. In 1989 Michael Sr. was the US Soccer Athlete of the Year.

I’m only allowed about 750 words and need double that to talk about his great career. When I read in Wikipedia that Michael Windischmann was inducted to the National Soccer Hall of Fame I can only say,”Wow.” To be in the same Hall of Fame as the great Pele and Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia etc. tells me that Michael has had a great career.

img_7113With all of his very hard work Michael’s dreams came true. I asked Michael Jr. if his dad’s heroics were the reason why his dad was his hero and very maturely he responded by saying,” My Dad is my hero because he is always there for me, he does for me, he tries to give me everything I need. He has always been my best teacher when it comes to sports, especially soccer.” Then added,”Most importantly my Dad is truly my best friend. I know I will always be a better athlete and a better person because of Dad.”

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