Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Comeback

I have a great deal of respect for a number of people. Some immediately close to me, my family, friends and even some work colleagues. However, I perhaps have the greatest deal of respect for people out there in the media and living their lives under the microscopic gaze of the public eye.

If that alone is not easy, you can find yourself on the receiving end of some negative press and your career stall. What do you do? Do you lie down and take the public beating and just crawl away into a hole? Or do you go all out to prove your doubters wrong. I have always striven for the later, more so in recent years as I have both the desire and the pure motivation to come back all guns blazing. Even if that is perhaps not quite my personality and takes me way outside of my comfort zone.

There were two people that I wanted to mention in this blog post, mainly because both have been in the news in the past few weeks. Let me start with David Beckham, someone I am sure you will know, even if only by name.

Out of favour at his club Real Madrid (ironically by now England coach Capello) dropped symbolically by Steve McClaren in something of a gesture of grandeur. The ex-Manchester United player was for sure in a dark place. Particularly after confirming his move to the MLS, for his club manager to say publicly that he played his last game for the club. It was here that I gained the ultimate respect for the footballer. He continued to train alone at the Madrid training camp. His dedication to his sport can never be questioned. Indeed he turned it around, he was recalled to the squad, took the team kicking and screaming within grasp of the title. The fact that ex Arsenal forward Jose Antonio Reyes scored the winning goals in the final league match against Mallorca is not lost on me. However it was Beckham whom inspired the squad to get to that point.

It was for England, I feel that he made his greatest impact. McClaren had always said that the door was open on the midfielder but I thought he would never return to use him. I was wrong, he made the comeback in the friendly against Brazil (I was there!) and created the goal and continued to make a substantial contribution in the following qualifiers. Even the final match against Croatia, his appearance turned England's fortunes as he crossed the ball for Crouch to score and equalise. England were through to Austria & Switzerland for a few short minutes.

The feeling was that he would, re-create the magic from 2001, in the final qualifier against Greece at Old Trafford. It was not to be on this wet November evening in North London. However it was in Milan on loan from LA Galaxy that Beckham would prove that he still has something to offer England. The Italians, not an easy crowd to win over, fell in love with him. Just when you thought David was a washed up footballer, living the high life in a below par league in the California sunshine he comes back with a bang and some incredible performances and amazing goals and wins his spot back in the England squad as a starter (not just an impact sub from the bench).

The second person I would like to focus on is Jennifer Hudson. She came back from very difficult personal tragedy in her home life to take centre stage at the Super Bowl to perform the national anthem. A song, which I feel includes all the ingredients that should be in a patriotic song for a nation. Deep stirring lyrics, story telling at it's best and a melody that is instantly memorable regardless of the arrangement and playable on almost any instrument.

We all lose people close to use during the course of our lives, but the circumstances of Jennifer's loss is almost impossible to comprehend. To lose so many of your loved ones in such a single moment is difficult to even bear thinking about. What made it worse for Miss Hudson, was that it was her mentor, her rock, the person she looked up to the most and was the keystone inspiration to her career.

I wonder how she felt, talking to the pitch at the Super Bowl XLIII at The Raymond James Stadium. It does not really matter because she pulled it off, with an audience of hundred thousand plus in the ground and many millions if not billions around the globe. I have the utmost respect for her as a performer, but now even more so as a human being. You have to keep moving on but never forget the people that got you where you are today. The public might doubt you, but your true friends and family always remain positive, behind you, supportive and caring. Making sure that the next decision you make, the next step you take is for the better and good.

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