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The Blind Side by Michael Lewis

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Simon, Jan 16, 2007.

  1. Simon

    Simon Active Member

    I've been a fan of Lewis since Moneyball and Coach. His new book The Blind Side is a great read but did anyone else besides me find the family that adopted Michael Oher to be a little fishy? I loved how he explained the left tackle in common man's terms that were easy to understand. I guess I saw Oher play this season and saw his team get smashed by Mizzou.

    But what did everyone else think about the book? Anybody from the SEC know about the scuttlebutt going around?
  2. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Mr Simon,

    A little disappointed by it--a tough act to follow tho'. Fishy is too kind to the family and others involved--the kid's backstory was heartbreaking.

    A couple of typos that a copy editor of a best-seller shudda caught -- did they think that administrators initials were TK?

    YHS, etc
  3. Cousin Jeffrey

    Cousin Jeffrey Active Member

    FOTF, I noticed Lewis misspelled several names, like Mark Bulger. Little stuff like that. Then again, Halberstam has done that too.

    As for Simon, yeah, they seemed a little fishy. But if that story is true, how it went down, then no, it isn't. No matter how good you think a kid's going to be, most boosters wouldn't take him in as their own son, formally adopt him, etc. Especially since he was far from a sure thing by the time he hit "stardom." He was very unlikely to become anything before then. As for him going to Ole Miss, he is the "son" of Ole Miss grads. So it's not unexpected, they would have some pull there. It's a strange story, some rules were probably broken, but I think the family should be applauded for what they did.
  4. Simon

    Simon Active Member

    The thing that is the huge inner debate among myself is: what is right for the kid? I did a story when a kid who went from inner-city to suburbs and got a college scholarship. They bended a couple rules but it was what was best for the kid. Even though the family was pushing him towards Ole Miss, what is best for a kid and what is best for the NCAA to keep its guts all fuzzy with "amatuerism" as I sit by a football player decked out in nice shoes, a big Ipod, a nic elaptop and some $100 headphones on during a lecture.
  5. Sly

    Sly Active Member

    I enjoyed the book immensely and devoured it in about two days.

    However, I was also a little wary of the whole situation. At first I thought the family was just moderately wealthy. Then Lewis drops the bomb of how this family owns a private jet and their daughter dates the heir to Federal Express. That, in itself, is not a problem but their extreme wealth and previous standing as Ole Miss boosters could have been more fully explored by Lewis.

    Which leads to my next point ...

    In the acknowledgments, Lewis discloses that he went to high school with Sean Tuohy and already had an existing relationship with him because of the Coach book he wrote. That seems a bit fishy to me and one that tells me maybe we didn't get the most objective report possible. (Remember the visit by the lady from the NCAA?)

    Having just finished the book, can anyone tell me if this kid is going to end up being a top draft pick at all?
  6. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Not this year.

    I just finished reading the Bible. Anybody find anything fishy about that whole Virgin Birth thing?
  7. tyler durden 71351

    tyler durden 71351 Active Member

    I'm going to pick up the book on payday. I thought the Oher story in the NYT was amazing and the people raising him seemed pretty decent. They're obviously wealthy and very religious people.
    Here's what kind of bugs me about the deal, however. There are probably a hell of a lot of Michael (and Michelle) Ohers running around Memphis, being raised without parents, getting pushed through crappy schools, being exposed to drugs and violence, etc. Kids who could probably succeed if they were put in the care of adults who actually gave a shit about them -- it bothers me that he gets this opportunity because of his potential as an NFL left tackle. What about the kid who has the potential to be a good cop, or a good business owner or a good kindergarten teacher? I hope there are people out saving them.
  8. Simon

    Simon Active Member

    Tyler, you're really going to hate the section that the family wants to start a school specifically geared towards kids like Michael Oher.
  9. Dyno

    Dyno Well-Known Member

    I finished reading it last night and was planning to post something on the Books Thread on the other board.

    I had such mixed feelings about the whole situation -- the Tuohys, Briarcrest School, the recruiting process, etc. If Michael Oher hadn't been such a kick ass football player, there is no way he would have gotten his handheld the way he did.

    In one breath, Lewis (and the Tuohys) condemn the Memphis school system for promoting undeserving kids through the system just to keep them moving, but isn't that kind of what happened to him at the tony Briarcrest School, too? Before Sean found the shady BYU grade replacement program, he had a 1.56 GPA. Shouldn't he have been left back?

    As for the Tuohy family, I don't know what to think. With the amount of money they spent on fuel for the private jet for Michael Oher's unofficial recruiting visits, they could have funded who knows how many scholarships for other kids.

    And yet, it was great that Michael was able to turn his life around. With a background like that, it's a wonder he survived on his own as long as he did. Don't get me started on his mother...
  10. Just finished it last night. Entertaining read, well arranged, everything like that.

    I had a lot of the same conflicts, and felt a little bit duped when I started reading the author's note at the end. But I wonder if it'd been mentioned beforehand, Lewis might've lessened the impact by suggesting "These are my friends," when he was writing as truthfully as possible.

    It seemed like there was a little bit of internal conflict with the Tuohys in terms of singling out of athletes, but it's hard to find a business-leader-to-be or a teacher since their skills aren't quantifiable. Hell, investing in one's own kids is a huge risk, so it's gotta be frightening to take anybody off the street. I thought it was as much that Oher had managed to insulate himself in such an incredible fashion from the street's problems as well as his football skills that made him savable.

    The bigger issue doesn't seem to be the athlete/non-athlete divide, but the male-female divide. It seemed to me that whenever poor black women were mentioned, they were having way too many kids at a young age. I'm trying to think of one poor black girl/woman mentioned in the story who wasn't knocked up at an early age, and I'm struggling. Sports isn't nearly as large a way out of poverty for them, so what chance to they have?

    Typos aside, I liked it better than Moneyball, but maybe because I'm not nearly as familiar with the subject. It's great discussion fodder, if nothing else.
  11. Cousin Jeffrey

    Cousin Jeffrey Active Member

    I don't think Lewis and Tuohy were close friends still. Didn't he say he started talking to him again for the Coach book? And I don't know Lewis, but I can't imagine he would let a casual friendship color his story too much. The guy's a heckuva writer. That being said, I see everyone's points and thought the same things too. I guess it comes down to nurturing someone's talent. You can't "know" someone would be a good cop or teacher, so it's silly to throw that out there. Even something like a musician or artist, you can't be sure someone could've even make a living off those talents (and plenty of magnet art schools exist in major cities). What the Tuohys were thinking of, a special school for at-risk athletes, already exists in cities, essentially. Anything that helps kids is a good idea, regardless of how sleazy people might think it is. Just think how this poor kid, Michael Oher's, life has changed for the better already and he's only 20-21.
  12. John

    John Well-Known Member

    I read it last week and mostly enjoyed it. The fact that Oher could "take" those online courses to make up for high school Fs was a little disturbing.

    Just judging from what the author presented, I have no reason to believe that the Tuohys were insincere when they opened their home to Michael. As for his decision to go to Ole Miss, he's an hour from home, in a pretty sheltered environment and Coach O was perhaps more honest or genuine during the recruiting than Saban or Fat Phil.

    Favorite part of the book was Lewis' interpretations of what O was saying.
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