Aaron's Reviews > The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game

The Blind Side by Michael   Lewis
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Oct 12, 2007

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Read in October, 2007

Hoop Dreams detailed the machine built around taking poor black athletes from the inner city and sticking them into primarily white school systems that only cared about those athletes to the extent that they would help their sports teams win. The Blind Side concerns itself with a similar story, except Michael Lewis tends to pause breathlessly and exclaim isn't this great? He admits that the father, Sean, "had been born with a talent for seeing the court, taking in every angle and every other player, and then attacking in the most efficient way possible. The talent translated beautifully from basketball into life." But Lewis never really weighs the possibility that maybe this chronic manipulater had some dubious intentions when, on essentially a whim, he ends up adopting a tremendous football talent, Michael, a year before Michael decides where he wants to play his college ball. When an NCAA investigator feels that this adoption (and the tens of thousands of dollars thrown towards Michael) might be some attempt to circumvent the rules and buy his favor, Lewis can't help but vilify her. "[The NCAA] didn't care how things were, only how they could be made to seem. A poor black football star inside the home of this rich white booster could be made to seem scandalous, and so here they were, bothering Michael. The lady said she was just trying to establish the facts of the case, but the facts didn't descibe the case... They had violated the letter of every NCAA rule ever written. They'd given Michael more than food, clothing, and shelter. They'd given him a life." And, desipte this ascribed nobility of Sean, his family, and the support system of tutors willing to get him passing grades by any means at hand, I never found myself buying into it fully. Yes, I find myself rooting for Michael Oher to make it in the NFL, but mainly because I feel that if he doesn't, the life that these people have given him will seep away, and he'll be back on the streets from which he was rescued.

I also was annoyed by which the degree Lewis writes from a perspective of "poor black" athletes and "rich white" heroes. He can't help himself from throwing these modifiers on any person where they might apply. But when talking of about a black investment banker, he isn't written as "a rich black banker", instead he is merely described as being from Washington, D.C. Michael is meant to stand in for so much of what is happening in this country in terms of race and economics, and, while large though he may be, he isn't big enough to tell this story unless Lewis cuts off these annoying details and nuances.

In the end, it rings with the empty ease of a cheer before a football game: "Whitey, go adopt a black kid that can run 4.3 40, on three!"
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Cole Connor Wrong book doofus.


Aaron Well, who says intellectual discourse is dead?


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