Greetings from the Land of Enchantment: A Book Review

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Book Review

The Blind Side by Michael Lewis

I love sports. Almost any sport. If I had to rank them it would fall like this: Basketball, Baseball, and Football, but for the big games, almost nothing beats the Super Bowl. One game, one day. No winner by four. No back and fourth. Just show up and play until someone wins and loses.

Michael Lewis has written a great book about a sport that isn't known for it's literary history or even it's statistical norms. Football, known for its brute force, doesn't lend the mind to investigation, but investigate he did. He presents a really compelling history of the changes in the modern game, beginning with a new kind of offense, sometimes called the 'west coast' offense and moving to the existence of a new kind of terror on the field called Lawrence Taylor and finally closing with the idea of a new player--a specific kind of athlete with extraordinary physical demands--the Left Tackle. Interweaved with this evolution of the game is the story of one young man who through chance and pure physical presence gets a chance to become what will probably be the epitome of the new Left Tackle: HUGE, quick, long arms, fast and nimble feet, and big hands.

I laughed out loud so many times reading this book, e.g. 'the great mormon grade grab'; he really has a way with words. Plus it was a great primer on all the things we miss on the line when we're busy watching the ball. If you have a sports fan in your life, this is a great book to recommend to them. And even if you're not a sports fan, it's a compelling story about the unimaginable difference one family can make in the life of a boy who's family had long deserted him.

Lewis doesn't spend too much time on the have and have-not components of the story or their implications. The rich guy in the book is his buddy from grade school; however, there is just enough in there to make you squirm and to make you elated at the prospect that change can happen, that influences can be positive, even in the midst of class, power, and racism in the south.

This is primarily a book about sports and about the athletes that play them and the coaches that innovate the game--or not. Good read!


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