Nico Calabria was born with no right hip or leg. But that is not how his parents Carl and Jeanine would describe him. They would say he was born with a left leg. If ever he came home from school, feeling upset about his condition, his parents would offer this advice, “We get it, it’s a bummer, but there’s legitimately zero you can do about it. So what now?” Yes, they offered him comfort, but they also wouldn’t let him limit himself by the things he didn’t have. So Nico never questioned his desire to be an athlete.
Nico wrestled in high school, learned gymnastics, and even raised $100,000 for charity by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro at age 13. But his true passion is soccer. He began playing soccer at 5 years old, and every day, he wakes up thinking, “I want to play.” He went on to play varsity soccer for his high school, and became somewhat of an internet star when a video of one of his goals went viral.
It’s no wonder then, that the sports drink Powerade wanted to use Nico as the star of this commercial. The Calabria family idea that “you are not defined by the things you lack” exemplifies the sentiment behind the Power Through campaign. Whatever your condition, whatever obstacles you face, you can overcome. Nico will never play in the World Cup as an able-bodied player like he dreamed as a young child, but this commercial did air at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and he went on to represent the US at the Amputee Football World Cup.
Pieced together from home videos of Nico growing up, this footage is truly inspirational. I’m sure the journey was often hard. At times he may have even thought it impossible, but Nico never gave into those fears. Rather than be mired down by doubts, he held to a dream and a passion summed up by a simple mantra: I want to play. If you were also moved by Nico’s story, share it with your friends. If you were inspired to set your own mantra, we would love to hear it in our comments below.