>> Tuesday, August 17, 2010
The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis
Publication Date: 2006
Source: Purchased New
The Short Version:
Partly the story of Michael Oher who went from the poorest neighborhood in Memphis to the home of a wealthy family who helped him succeed in both sports and live and partly the story of how the game of football has changed over the years.
Why I Read It:
I’m just itching for the start of college football season and needed a fix and I had saved this book for just when that mood hit.
Michael Oher is now a professional football player for the Baltimore Ravens. His story through his first year of college is told in this book. Along with the story of Michael Oher is the story of how the game of professional football has changed over the years and how the impact of those changes in football offensive and defensive strategy have trickled down through college and high school football.
Michael Oher grew up poor and without a real home in Memphis. When he was a teenager a man he’d stayed with brought Michael and another boy to the attention of a small private high school. This man had promised his mother that he would see that his own son would have an opportunity for a better life and while he was at it, he took young Michael along.
Michael didn’t turn into an instant sports star at his new school. First he had to meet even the minimal academic requirements. For a young boy who had only intermittently attended school the whole idea of learning in a classroom setting and taking much less passing tests was completely foreign. When he left school for the day, he rarely knew where he would sleep each night. He’d stay with friends and schoolmates and wear the same clothes to school day after day.
When Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy became aware of Michael and his living situation, they stepped in to help. First by making sure he had lunches paid for at school, then with buying him appropriate clothes and eventually taking him into their home and family and seeing that he go the academic tutoring he needed in order to have a shot a future through his football skills.
This book is not just about Michael Oher and the Tuohy family. It’s also about the game of football. Interspersed with the story of Michael and the Tuohy’s is a football history lesson. The game of football is every evolving as coaches and team management seek ways to take the advantage on the field. In the 1980’s and 1990’s the changes in the game emphasized the passing game and made the safety and protection of the quarterback more crucial than ever to a team’s success. Because of this, the offensive line positions became more specialized and the position of left tackle protecting a quarterback’s blind side evolved into one of the most important positions on the football field. This is the position that Michael Oher plays.
I’m a huge college football fan. I’m counting the days till kickoff on September 4th. This was the perfect book for me to read now when I need some football in my life. Because I love football, I enjoyed the parts of this book that are about the history of football just as much as I enjoyed reading Michael Oher’s story. As soon as I finished it I handed it to The Hubster to read next. I think he’ll enjoy it too. Based on what I’ve heard about the movie I wasn’t sure if it was a book he’d like, but if you have a football fan in your life, you can feel good about handing this book to them without it being tossed aside as a sappy rich family saves the poor kid story.
Before you ask, I haven’t seen the movie. I do plan to eventually, but I’ll wait until after The Hubster reads this book and we’ll watch it together.