Rarely in life do you meet someone you've looked up to, or shaped your thinking from afar in a way that meets your expectations -- and then some.
I've had the very, very, very good fortune of interviewing two individuals that have done that for me: the brilliant Nick Hornby and the incredibly talented Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland A's. Both of these men, whether they know or not, have had a great impression on me both as a person, but also in how I conduct myself in business and how I look at life.
Some may use the word "genuine" or even "approachable" when they meet someone like these two guys, but I think the word "true" is what clearly defines them and who they are. Their sincerity, honesty and human qualities make them both very special, which made interviewing them such a wonderful experience.
"It's refreshing to see the human side, but it also gives you a glance into how they shape their own line of thinking, how they escape, and how they inspire new thoughts."
But the fun of interviewing these amazing guys wasn't the interview itself, it was the conversation before the interview. Just sitting there, as I was with Nick at his office in Islington talking about the Club, music, life, or chatting away with Billy about which podcasts he listens to on his way to work. It's refreshing to see the human side, but it also gives you a glance into how they shape their own line of thinking, how they escape, and how they inspire new thoughts.
I will say the one element that bubbles up to the top when I think of my interviews with Nick and Billy was the passion they had not only for The Arsenal, but the passion they had in their chosen field. How lucky they felt, how they are able to do what they on a daily basis. And to get paid for it.
I hope one day I can complete my venn diagram or maybe it's a triangulation of the word "true" with an interview with Mr. Wenger. He seems to embody all of these qualities -- and then some -- from afar. And I have no doubt he won't disappoint if that day ever does come.
He's shaped me as person, how I look at things, how I want to experience more, be more pragmatic in my thinking. We're lucky to have someone on the sidelines that is "true" -- not only to the club and the players, but most importantly the true supporters.
The Arsenal America Podcast welcomes Jim van Wijk of the Press Association and we also welcome back to the show, Billy Beane, GM of the Oakland A's. We talk with Billy about the A's philosophy, who helped shape his thinking and that Özil signing. Please don't forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or grab the RSS Feed.
'Stateside Gooner' Chris Toronyi is a longtime Arsenal supporter and the host of The Arsenal America podcast, available every week at ArsenalAmerica.com and on iTunes. 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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