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A Riveting Story of Resurrection
on January 29, 2007
Imagine that you are a large (over 300 pounds) African-American teenager who lives in the worst part of Memphis. You never knew your father (and he will soon be murdered). Your mother is addicted to drugs and doesn't do much to provide for you. You have no bed. You don't know where your next meal is coming from. You haven't gone to enough school to know how to do much of anything.
What do you want out of life? You want to be Michael Jordan . . . just like millions of other teenagers. You've spent endless hours on the playgrounds practicing as a shooting guard.
What will you become in a handful of years? One of the most heavily recruited college football players in the nation and a top professional prospect who people are watching as you learn how to be a left tackle.
The story of how Michael Oher made this transition is one of the most amazing, moving, and fascinating real-life stories it has ever been my pleasure to read. Whether or not you like football, you'll find this book to be impossible to put down.
Michael Lewis does a remarkable job in telling the story. Mr. Lewis was fortunate to have a long-term friendship with Sean Tuohy, one of the many people who helped Michael Oher fulfill his potential. As a result, Mr. Lewis enjoyed amazing access to the people involved in Michael's life . . . and eventually got some help from Michael as well.
The Blind Side is four stories in one:
1. Michael's life before he met the Tuohy family.
2. Michael's progress from being ignorant to becoming a highly recruited college football prospect.
3. Michael's adjustment to college.
4. The changes in professional football that created an irresistible demand for someone with Michael's physical capabilities.
Each of these stories would make a fine book. To be able to pursue all four stories at the same time is an unexpected delight.
But the story's not over. Michael is now a sophomore at Ole Miss. Will he make it to the NFL? You can follow his career and find out. Perhaps other amazing chapters lie ahead. Who knows?
There's another story this book doesn't tell, but implies: The world is full of talented youth who could make great contributions . . . but they need a lot of help from people who care and are determined to help the youth succeed. For ever Michael Oher, there must be millions who languish. How can we change that? You'll be haunted by that question after you read this book.
If you are looking for keen insights into football that you don't already have, you'll probably be disappointed. Any fan of professional football knows that a team's potential chances of success are only as good as the blocking of the offensive line. Clearly, the left tackle is the best insurance against a maimed right-handed quarterback, something no fan wants. You've probably noticed that the top left tackles get paid almost as much as quarterbacks. The history of how the Bill Walsh-type passing offenses have become so important is something you've lived through.
The professional football material will, however, be helpful to those who don't know football and want to appreciate why people have been going gaga over Michael Oher.
How can you help an at-risk youth today?