Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis (2007)

Whether or not you like football, you surely will like The Blind Side. If you don't know anything about high school football, college football, or pro football, that will not interfere with the sheer enjoyment you will get from a terrific story, about real people, and actual events (no fake news here). If you think you know something about football, you are about to be dazed and bedazzled by what you're about to learn. At one level, the book is the story of Michael Oher (pronounced "oar"), the most gifted of huge Black athletes who is taken in by a White Southern family, who ends up playing left tackle, the key offensive position after the game's revolution by Lawrence Taylor, a revolution that not only changed how football was played, but even how players were paid. It also is the story of race and the South, with all kinds of fascinating vignettes thrown in about the NCAA, coaches and coaching, education, and just plain people. It is exceedingly well written, moves along with great pace, and has the perfect amount of detail. It's also a movie (2009) which I think I saw and which, if I did, remember it as a good movie. Be assured, unlike my reviews in junior high school and high school, this review is based on the book and not on the movie.

The book has a surprise ending. It actually is the story of Michael Oher's beginning. It makes the point that Warren Buffet makes so well. As Buffet explains, if he had been born at another time in another place that valued something other than the peculiar gift he had couple with a total lack of physical ability, he would have been an abject failure and outcast and not the most successful person ever of his chosen profession. In short, Buffet credits his success to 99% luck. As Michael Lewis paints the picture, the changes in football coupled gave Michael Oher's freakish physicality the ability to launch him to a vaunted place. Again, 99% luck.

PS: The book was published in 2007. Michael Oher would not enter the NFL, if at all, until 2009. So the book does not cover his career, if any, in the NFL.

Amazon Link to the Book

IMDb Link to the Movie

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