The blind side

I love reading books and watching movies that are about true life stories and “The Blind Side” is one of those movies that I have watched again while on holiday.  Its such an inspiring story of hope when absolutely everything in your life may be telling you to believe a different kind of story. Your life viewed through the eyes of others, can sometimes label you a “nobody” with no hope for a better future. Trapped by life’s circumstances, there seems to be nothing that you can do, to bring the change that you so desperately need and desire.  

This story is based on a true story, one full of love, betrayal, passion and sacrifice. It’s a story of a young mans journey from rags to riches, from brokenness to healing, from being a “nobody” because of his status in society and from his neighbourhood where he lived, with no family upbringing, to becoming “somebody” because of the love and acceptance he received from a family who welcomed him, a complete stranger into their home. 

 We all have a blind side but sometimes we don’t see it or want to admit that it’s there. We miss the full picture without knowing the full story. Sometimes we tend to be too quick to judge a book by its cover, and we can often look at each other in this way too, without taking the time to turn the page in the book to read the first chapter or take the time to journey with others, to sit and listen to one another share our own story. Somehow in our own thoughts we have already written their story or put a label on them because of how they look with our own prejudice. We all need love. We all need friendship. We all need family. We all need acceptance and to pour that into the lives of others will very often cost us much of ourselves in a world that is becoming increasingly more selfish with its time, money, love, relationships and the ridecule of others. 

The Blind Side is a 2009 American semi-biographical sport drama film, based on the 2006 book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis. The storyline features Michael Oher, an offensive lineman who plays for the Tennesse Titans of the NFL. The film follows Oher’s life from his impoverished upbringing, through his years at Wingate Christian School (a fictional representation of Briarcrest Christian School in Memphasi, Tennessee), his adoption by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, to his position as one of the most highly coveted prospects in college football, then finally becoming a first-round pick in the NFL by the Baltimore Ravens.

Sandra Bullock stars as Leigh Anne Tuohy, alongside Quiton Aaron as Michael Oher, Tim McGaw as Sean Tuohy, and Kathy Bates as Miss Sue.

Michael is nearly 18 and has been in foster care with different families since the age of 7,  largely because of his mother’s drug addiction. Every time he is placed in a new home, he runs away. His friend’s father, on whose couch Mike had been sleeping, the coach of Wingate Christian school, to help enroll his son and Mike. Impressed by Mike’s size and athleticism, Cotton gets him admitted despite his abysmal academic record. At his new school, Michael is befriended by a boy named Sean Jr. “SJ” . SJ’s mother Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) is a strong-minded interior designer and the wife of wealthy businessman.

One night, Leigh Anne notices Michael walking on the road, shivering in the cold; when she learns he intends to spend the night huddled outside the school gym, she offers him a place to sleep at her house. The next morning, when she sees Michael leaving, she asks him to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with her family. Slowly, Michael becomes a member of the Tuohy family, even as Leigh Anne’s rich friends wonder what she is doing. They mock her and remark at how wonderful it if that she is changing this young mans life.  But for Leigh it’s so much more than this, she begins to tell her friends that this young man is actually changing her life and takes her stand with them even if it means losing their friendship.

Leigh Anne seeks to become Michael’s legal guardian and learns that he was separated from his drug-addict mother when he was seven and that no one knows her whereabouts. She is also told that even though he scored low in almost every category in a career aptitude test, he is in the 98th percentile in “protective instincts”.

Only after his grades improve is Michael allowed to join the school football team. He has a shaky start due to his polite and gentle nature, yet after some encouragement by Leigh to tap into his “protective instincts” and regard his teammates as he would members of his own family, Michael dominates on the field. 

SJ his younger brother in his new found family, sends out videos of the football games to college coaches around the country. Leigh Anne discovers that to get an NCAA Division I scholarship, Michael needs a 2.5 GPA, so they hire a tutor, Miss Sue (Kathy Bates). Michael doesn’t know how he is going to do this, or if it will ever be possible. Yet the story unfolds with some of the teachers who never thought he could do it actually begin to help out as well, and Michael ends up with a GPA of 2.52. 

It’s a day full of family celebrations for what seemed impossible for Michael has now become possible. What was once a dream as he lay asleep on the friend of his fathers sofa has now become a reality. With all the love, support and encouragement from those around him, who believed in him when he didn’t even believe in himself, it changed his life forever. Michael is living his dream and ends up with coaches coming from all over to offer him a scholarship. 

Not everybody’s story in life will unfold like Michael Ohers but when I reflect on this story it makes me wonder about how many other people we pass by every day, the stories and opportunities that we miss because of our blind side?

How many other stories in peoples lives in this city could have brokenness and hopelessness restored if we stopped to listen, to embrace someone in greater need of love, friendship, acceptance and family?

What could happen if we welcomed others into our lives, loved and accepted them for who they are, no matter what their story and helped them to understand the truth about a heavenly father, who loves them and welcomes them in to be part of his family?

Nobody wants to be labelled a nobody. Everyone wants to be somebody. 

Surely we have all been created for a purpose!