Sports 56 WHBlog Q

October 14, 2008

Blind Sided

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Will Askew @ 11:38 am

One of the only good things that have come out of my having surgery a couple of weeks ago is that I have had ample time to read. I like to read, but I don’t really do it as much as I should (mainly a product of my having read all of the books in my apartment, so there’s nothing new to read). So I was excited about reading The Blind Side for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that I know most of the principal characters in the story of Michael Oher.

By now, everyone knows the story of Michael Oher…A physical freak of nature with seemingly no personal history, no schooling, and no parental influence picked up by an affluent white family (the Tuohys) and treated to a real education and put in a loving family for the first time in his life. The boy figures out how to learn and now is a starting left tackle in the best conference in football, and likely will be a first round pick (if not top 5) in next year’s NFL Draft. It really is a terrific story, and a great read (and it also makes you think about whether Joe Montana is really the greatest QB of all time, or just a product of Bill Walsh’s offensive system).

One of the main things about the story that strikes you while reading it is the generosity of the Tuohys. These aren’t Ole Miss boosters who just picked up Michael as a way to funnel him to their favorite school; in fact, if you read the book, you know that the Tuohys were far more charmed by then-LSU coach Nick Saban than they were with anyone else. These are people who cared enough to give a lost young man an opportunity, which he took advantage of through hard work and constant discipline.

How many other kids in the inner-city could take advantage of an opportunity if only they were given it? How many kids in this city are in similar situations? Single-parent household, a mother who doesn’t care or is addicted to drugs, an education system that shuffles the child along because, well, that’s what they do, giving the child no reason at all to work or even attend school? What if all they need is an opportunity? And why is our society so reluctant to try and provide an opportunity to those who need it? The Tuohys are an extremely rare exception–too often in our country, those who are blessed are too reluctant to try and share with those who aren’t.

My grandfather once said, “Greed is going to ruin this country.” I pray that it doesn’t…or hasn’t. I daresay that if more people, like the Tuohys, were willing to help those without an opportunity try and find one, greed wouldn’t be a problem.

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