Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Blind Side (copy)

I began reading Push by Sapphire last night for today's book talk. As I read it, I kept thinking yuck. By page 27, 12-year-old main character, Claireece Precious Jones, has been abused physically and sexually by both her parents. My stomach is still turning. The film based on the book, Precious, is currently in theatres.

I decided to switch gears and talk about another book currently in theatres titled The Blind Side by Michael Lewis. My book talk, written in January 2007, opens with the horrendous tackle Joe Theismann endured by Lawrence Taylor—an attack which ended his football career. Viewers, 17.6 million, saw the heartbreak as New York Giants and Washington Redskins battle it out during a Monday night football game. It was, "the start of the second quarter, first and 10 at midfield," when Theismann caught the "flea flicker" and set up for a pass.

Out of nowhere Taylor raised his arm to sack attack Theismann. The force wasn't in Taylor's arm but rather in his descending right thigh. As he came down for the tackle his thigh was pushed down into Thiesmann's right leg, fracturing tibia and fibula.

Lawrence Taylor was known as a fanatical quarterback destroyer. Apparently, Taylor suffered from claustrophobia and preferred to maneuver away from the pack. Meaning, he would not lower himself into a set position when in the line of scrimmage. Once the ball was snapped, he preferred to move around the mass and be the guy closer to the top of any tackle.

His natural fear became a new successful maneuver for "sacking the quarterback." Time-after-time he went around the line and circled back to find the quarterback unprotected. He, in effect, hit the man from his blind side and created a new football strategy.

This new strategy requires a heavy, nimble man or waltzing elephant to be effective. It is a unique human that possesses this mixture, weight and grace—so unique, that the NFL is willing to pay big money for the specimen. The left tackle, Taylor's position, is the second highest paid player, other than the quarterback.

Imagine you are a football scout and you have just seen an incredible sight, a sophomore at Briarcrest Christian School, bulky yet nimble, making three pointers on a Memphis basketball court. This is how Michael Oher first appeared to scout Tom Lemming, believing he had just witnessed the next Orlando Pace.

The next year, Lemming "ranked him [Oher] as the #1 offensive line prospect" in the country. Follow Oher's evolution from gentle giant to mean machine in this very entertaining book.

I'm excited to hear all the Oscar talk for Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side and Mo'Nique as the mother of Precious!

2 comments: