Wednesday, August 5, 2009
An Eye-Opening Read
I've mentioned in earlier posts that one of my job responsibilities is to lead a book club. Typically, the ladies' selections are pretty hit-and-miss for my taste, but this month we hit the jackpot with a book I highly recommend. You should only read it, however, if you enjoy the game of football.
The Blind Side by Michael Lewis is the true story of Michael Oher, a kid who started his life on the tough streets of the poorest part of Memphis, illiterate and foraging for food, and ended up, with the help of an unlikely couple, as a star offensive lineman for Ole Miss who was picked up 23rd by the Baltimore Ravens in this year's NFL draft.
Michael Oher was one of 13 children born to a drug-addicted mother and a father he didn't know. He ran away from several different foster homes, until Child Protective Services finally lost track of him and gave up. There would seem to be no hope for this child. But he wound up in the sights of a young, white, wealthy, conservative couple, who at first just felt the need to help him with a few kind gestures, but ended up loving and actually legally adopting him into their family.
The book takes you through Michael's personal life, and also gives you a glimpse into the world of the NFL, which at that very moment was changing in ways that drifted down into the college and high school ranks, making Michael the most sought-after left tackle in the nation.
The Blind Side tells a very touching story, but also offers strategic reasons as to why its protagonist became so important to the game of football. It delves into the world of college recruiting (including a cameo appearance by Nick Saban) and the NCAA.
But more than anything else, this story proves that there truly do exist people whose kindness and love far exceed perceived limitations. Both Michael and the family that took him in displayed this kind of love. They proved that if there is enough love, enough belief and enough kindness, anything is possible and dreams really can come true.