Return to greatness

Stateside Gooner

By Chris Toronyi

It's how you react to failure that defines you. Well, that's what I tell my son Cooper when he can't finish a project like "Rainbow Loom" properly. The great ones don't finish the Loom the right way - the great ones respond after a dip. They find a way back, but they've always had it in them. They just needed to reach deep down and grab it, harness it and release it.

Most of the time the mindset of the great ones sits at the "failure is not an option" setting. And if failure is an option, they don't dwell or dream about it. The negativity sucks up space and leads to unproductive thoughts. Granted, we're all human. We all think about the negativity, and try to find a way to make it back, but the great ones know how to use that negativity to their advantage. Do whatever it takes. Sometimes it requires people to look at themselves in the mirror and say "I'm not good enough now, but I will be."

Okay… I need to again ask that you give me some latitude as I go down this route of Hollywood and soccer. At first it was going to be about how Arsenal seem to have it them to bounce back, but the reason they can this season is pretty simple. The power and energy of one Mr. Ramsey and the rest of the leaders on this team. They know what has happened in the past, but they know how important winning is, and doing it the right way.

I like to think of our return to form as the McConaughey trajectory.

Back in 2008 and 2009 Matthew McConaughey was coming off of two films that I'm pretty sure nobody here reading this saw, but if they did probably didn't finish the movie. The films were 'Ghosts of Girlfriends Past' and 'Surfer Dude'. Not what you'd call great performances, or even great films for that matter, but that's where he was and it wasn't exactly a good place.

McConaughey had become a bit boring, predictable in his movie selections. So what did he do? He reinvented himself. He realized his dip and found a way to get back. He had to be focused and pragmatic. Some would say even a little adventurous.

In 2012 McConaughey started laying the foundation of his return with 'Magic Mike.' We'll call that his Santi Cazorla moment. It was a fun film, filled with flavor, creativity and the McConaughey we all knew and loved, but with an edge that made it better than his past "McConaughey performances." People started to notice him again, started to take him seriously.

Sound familiar? Junmping ahead to 2013. Two amazing films in 'Dallas Buyers Club' and 'The Wolf of Wall Street'. Let's refer to these two as the Giroud and Ozil of his films.

Dallas Buyers is a bit unconventional, and not as flashy as some of the films he has done in the past. But as you look at the performance you realize that it has depth, it has character, and most of all it shows the maturity that one sees in great actors. In greatness. I look forward to seeing the film as there is nothing better than when you see an actor or for that matter and athlete put himself out there to be criticized for the good of one self. I'd even say there's a hint of Per in this effort.

Now, let's look at the Ozil of this discussion. 'The Wolf of Wall Street'. Does it get any better than this? Seriously. Martin Scorsese in the director's chair and a cast that includes Leonardo DiCarprio? Yes, I'm using a lot of question marks to prove my point: finding your way back. Building a foundation for the right moment to be there for you to seize. It's there for us just as it was and is for McConaughey.

Wenger has been building this squad so they can bounce back. So they can dig for greatness. Were those lean years necessary for us to get to this point? Maybe. I mean, do you think McConaughey would ever have had the opportunity to work with Scorsese if he had not bottomed out creatively? Found a way back creatively? Found a new form of himself? (Yes more question marks. Sometimes pain is necessary to find the right response.)

I feel that's what's happening to us. We've found our footing. We're bouncing back with the right set of tools. The right people. The right decisions.

Let's hope our 2014 ends like McConaughey's. You see he's currently filming Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar'. I think you get where that analogy could go. Will go.

It really doesn't getting better than that. No offense, Marty. 

No Arsenal America Podcast, but it will be back next week to talk Southampton and Marseille. Please know the show is available at www.ArsenalAmericaPodcast.com, on iTunes and you can also grab the RSS Feed. Thanks for listening. 


'Stateside Gooner' Chris Toronyi is a longtime Arsenal supporter and the host of The Arsenal America podcast. You can read more of Chris' thoughts on Twitter

The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband Ltd.

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