Sometime last week, I read Michael Lewis' The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game. It rambles a little, but overall it's quite good.
I had already seen the movie last December. And while I loved Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy in that film, I found the book allowed everyone else to speak a little more. Face it, Sandra Bullock took that movie past the script and the (low-key or no-key) style of the other actors. She rocked that film into the All-American, turning it into an anthem for Christian charity, The Second Amendment, designer clothes, and enlightened self-interest, all wrapped up with a big red bow.
Michael Lewis cautions us that we don't watch and understand what happens on a football field very well. We look at quarterbacks and where the ball goes. We don't look at those who make quarterbacking possible, and thereby miss a great deal of the skill.
And then there's the personal narrative working its way through.
I think it's nothing short of miraculous that Michael Oher managed to hold onto the good he found. He had little loving care when very young or attention until Big Tony and then Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy stepped into his life. (Since Mr. Oher's main adventure starts at Briarcrest Christian school, Big Tony's role in getting him there is probably not given the scope it should have. You could say we left him holding the line, while the book ran to the goal.)
A Homeless Child
In any case, Michael Oher learned how to do for himself in the most basic sense. The way the book explains it, he could fend for himself, but had no good horizon to look forward to, no "way of being" except emotionally self-enclosed and minimally self-sufficient by our generally stated standards of wealth.
Still, he had some spark that enabled him to appreciate those whom he met--and to gain the interest of others. You could say that he led into the blind side, constantly, his whole life. A child learned to survive. A young man who had not known sufficient love believed in emotional attachment. He held onto one commonplace and usually futile dream (to be Michael Jordan) until new dreams opened up--and he did not pass them by, but worked for them. He learned everything by memorizing, because he is intelligent, but so underserved by parents, education and social services that he was disabled and disadvantaged.
Simple Minded? Hardly.
They say the Mr. Oher feels that "The Blind Side" made him look stupid. But Michael Oher has to be emotionally and intellectually intelligent. I am willing to bet he is the most complex person in the book. This is a deeper story than we know.
He could make the leap into the utterly unfamiliar, over and over again. Now he is an accomplished man with a future--with tools as well as a character that will take him past athletics.
And the entire world has the chance to see, a little, what the gifted ones who live behind our range of vision truly need from us. I can find a way to meet some of those, just as Big Tony and the Tuohys did, and thereby see the world more fully. I can learn to take risks into my blind side the way Michael Oher has, and therefore live more fully.
I wish him the very best. And I can't wait to read his biography, which is coming out in February of next year.
You can find out more at the Michael Oher Web site. The picture below is just the start for him.
In other notes: no, I'm not done with Lincoln, of course not. Just have Zombie Work to do. Then the meeting Tuesday night. Hagakure on Tuesday, so I'm thinking later in the week for Lincoln. And who knows what else?
Have a great day, everybody! The adventure is just beginning.