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Blind Sided

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Moments ago I just finished The Blind Side by Michael Lewis. Order it here. And that isn't to say that the amazon link is posted just so reader(s) know where to order the book, but that I'm ordering you to go get it if you haven't already. It will be required reading on this week's Hogs Haven test, which I expect you all to pass.

For serious though, if you haven't already read this book, go get it. It is outstanding and deserves a full review that I won't give for fear of failing miserably. This book deserves justice I can't provide. But what I can do is encourage Redskins fans specifically to seek this book out since a non-trivial amount of it is filled with Redskins anecdote. When my friend gave me the book, just a day ago, he said I'd love it because of the amount of print my Redskins received in it. And they did, and I loved it for a lot of reasons, that being just one. The first chapter opens:

From the snap of the ball to the snap of the first bone is closer t ofour seconds than to five.
The snapped bone belongs to Joe Theismann, and it is in the context of his horrifying injury (if you dare) that Lewis opens the discussion on the subsequent elevation in importance and pay of the left tackle position in the NFL.

One more, briefly. The book is about Michael Oher, a physically blessed athlete who is built to be a professional left tackle but is raised in the kind of environment that makes pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness difficult damn near impossible. He overcomes the impossible  in large part thanks to the altruism of others (though that's not taking anything away from Michael Oher, at all), especially Leigh Anne Tuohy, who effectively becomes his mother. Before that, she's his tailor, with the help of former Redskins starting quarterback Patrick Ramsey:

Several of her interior decorating clients were professional athletes. All but one were basketball players, and all of them were tall and thin. The other was Patrick Ramsey, the Washington Redskins' new starting quarterback [sic]... She called Ramsey, who said he was more than happy to dun his teammates for their old clothing. She gave him Michael's measurements, and Patrick Ramsey took them down.

A few days later, he called back: "You've got these measurements wrong," he said, matter-of-factly. She explained that she had taken the measurements herself, and written them down on a piece of paper. It must be Patrick who had them wrong...

"There's no one on our team as big as he is," Ramsey said...

"Leigh Anne," said the Redskins quarterback, "we only have one player on this team who is even close, and he wears Wrangler blue jeans and flannel shirts and no black kid is going to be caught dead wearing that stuff." That would be Jon Jansen, the Redskins' starting right tackle.

I stop now because I don't want to rip off the entire book. It's a nice little anecdote that a then 16 year old kid was larger than anyone on our offensive line a few years back, and only Jon Jansen came close. And now you know that Jansen wears flannel shirts, so I feel like I've provided some Redskins related minutiae for your consumption.

Again, go read the book. Whenever discussion happens on who is the best sports writer in America, Michael Lewis always gets mentioned around these parts. I don't think "sports writer" fairly describes either the author or this particular book. Michael Lewis is a great writer, period, who happens to sometimes do so about sports. And The Blind Side is about a whole lot more than the left tackle position specifically, or football and sports generally. It's about a kid born into circumstances most people thankfully don't have to suffer through who, incredibly, against unimaginable odds, manages to escape abject poverty. The implications of that go well beyond Michael Oher's pending professional football career.

This is an excellent book.