Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Watching The Blind Side - In Training Part One

I had forgotten how gruesome the beginning of The Blind Side was.  No, I'm not talking about Sandra Bullock's awful Southern Drawl.  I'm talking about the opening sequence about how and when the Left Tackle in football became so important.  C and G didn't know what we were watching when Lawrence Taylor hit Joe Theisman on his blind side and nearly broke his leg off.  Not a good way to start the movie.  Even the normally unaffected G pleaded - when C said he couldn't see the hit - "I don't want to rewind this again, Dad."  No kidding, I'm done too little man.

Based on the Michael Lewis novel of the same name, the story revolves around an African American from the mean streets of Memphis, named Michael Oher, who is adopted by a white family and starts playing on the offensive line for the local High School football team.  The movie glosses over the more technical aspects of the Left Tackle position, affectionately called protecting the Quarterback's "blind side" like no one else is responsible for blocking the left side of the offensive line.  But this was going to be a good movie for the boys to watch since they are both now playing Pop Warner football and needed to work on the more courageous aspects of the offensive line.  So, with Mom's approval, we hunker down in the basement and start the film.  Hopefully this goes better than when we watched Secretariat.

Our first glimpse of "Big Mike," as he is called by his surrogate Father, was playing basketball and "Dunking" the basket ball.  I use the term "dunking" lightly as it was clear he was dunking on a 7 foot hoop or was jumping from a three foot ladder.  The boys both cracked that he was playing basketball instead of playing football.  The first lesson I teach is patience.

"When are they adopting him, he's living with them?"  G asks me as the movie continues with the Tuohey family invites Oher to sleep in their living room.  He doesn't quite understand what was going on.  I guess when we had that dog for a couple of weeks, G would have started asking when we were going to adopt him.

"Stop with the rugby shirts you look like a bumble bee."  They are obviously itching for the football scenes to start as we watch Michael stop by his old neighborhood and then shop for some clothes. 

As the football scenes actually start, the boys really get into Michael's first practice with bad stances, and picking up the blocker instead of pushing him out of the way.  I try to explain to him that even he had to learn football fundamentals before he could start experiencing success.  And coaches were going to be stern when they were trying to teach him.

Fast forward half an hour.  Watching his first game against the Rednecks they were psyched to see Michael when blocked Number 66 into the stands after being mercilessly mocked and ridiculed.  They were even more impressed when all of the college coaches started calling on their phones to their offices when they saw the tapes of that game and the one on one drills the next day.

So I really stress how all of the repetitions he did really improved his skills and how being aggressive will reduce the chance of injury.  I'm not sure they were listening to me, but I like to hear the sound of my own voice, so it's okay.

Then my favorite part.  One of Oher's assignments in order to graduate High School with a high enough GPA to play college football next year at Ole Miss, Oher had to give a report about the famous wartime poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade.  I even get the boys to listen to me stop the movie and read Tennyson's poem.   The boys asked me questions after I got done with the poem that I would expect older kids to ask.  Questions such why the 600 went into battle knowing they would die came out of their mouths.  Were they actually listening to me?

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