September 23, 2006

The Ballad of Big Mike: What happened next was the strangest encounter of Lemming's 28-year career as a football scout. Michael Oher sat down at the table across from him ... and refused to speak. "He shook my hand and then didnít say a word," Lemming recalled. ("His hands ó they were huge!") Lemming asked a few questions; Michael Oher just kept staring right through him. And soon enough Lemming decided further interaction was pointless. Michael Oher left, and he left behind blank forms and unanswered questions. Every other high-school football player in America was dying for Lemming to invite him to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Michael Oher had left his invitation on the table. A fantastic article in the NYT Magazine by Michael Lewis, detailing the unusual story behind Michael Oher. via kottke

posted by mbd1 to football at 07:02 PM - 14 comments

That's quite an amazing story.

posted by mr_crash_davis at 09:15 PM on September 23, 2006

Agreed. The Tuohys don't seem so pure in their intentions, but it's hard to deny that Oher himself is better off having met them.

posted by cl at 10:10 PM on September 23, 2006

it's a great story but tainted somewhat by the Tuohys bigoted views

posted by mick at 10:32 PM on September 23, 2006

I really could care less what their intentions were, and I agree that they do seem to be bigots, as evidenced by the comment, "The Mormons may be going to Hell, but they sure are nice people," but I love the way it ended up. Can anyone here imagine another way this kid ends up successful? The only other end I could think of this story would include death or institutionalization. The Tuohys don't really have anything to gain out of this situation, anyway, do they?

posted by hawkguy at 01:35 AM on September 24, 2006

A comment about the ends justifying the means might be fitting.

posted by igottheblues at 03:46 AM on September 24, 2006

I just don't see the bigotry. Maybe a little intolerant, but you do that for someone and then call me back. [T]he N.C.A.A. stood between them in a couple of ways. First, it had opened an investigation and voiced the suspicion that the Tuohys had become Michaelís guardians and put him into their wills as an equal of their own children only so that he might play left tackle for their alma mater. Stay classy, NCAA.

posted by yerfatma at 08:56 AM on September 24, 2006

Would I want to hang out with any of the people in this story? Probably not. But did the Tuohys do something good here? Yes. The only part of this story that bothers me is the ending. There's an implication that now that he's made it to Ole Miss, Oher is going to live happily ever after. Problem is, now he's part of the machine, and he's not surrounded by people who have his best interests at heart anymore. A big check is going to come his way, and someone better be there to help him with it, or else this could get bad on a whole new level for him. So far, so good, but if I was a praying man, I would not stop praying for Michael Oher just yet.

posted by chicobangs at 09:21 AM on September 24, 2006

Fascinating on more than a few levels. A fantastic link. Thanks, mbd1. No doubt I'm rooting for the guy - but it sure seems awfully lucky that he's preternaturally good at football. Because, if he wasn't...

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 11:50 AM on September 24, 2006

Amazing story. Chico's concerns are valid, but if the Tuohys cared enough about this kid to write him into their will, I can't imagine that they won't stay intimately involved in his life at college and afterward. They'll offer guidance, and he's sure demonstrated that he'll listen to them. They can't be with him every minute anymore, but hopefully it will be enough to keep him on track.

posted by ctal1999 at 12:49 PM on September 24, 2006

Am I the only one that finds the gaming of the NCAA Grade Point requirement by using 1 week BYU courses to offset lesser grades earned in High School disturbing. I guess as long as we continue with the Collegiate Athlete/Scholar facade concerning Major Collegiate sports like Div. 1 Football, the means justify the ends. Otherwise it was a heart warming and inspirational tale, well written and researched. Thanks for the FPP.

posted by skydivedad at 01:35 PM on September 24, 2006

In a world mired by 'bad news' being the only news that is usually broadcast, it is uplifting to read this true story. [Just imagine some of the social pressures that must have been upon both parties: Big Mike, and the Tuohys. - Let's remember, that not a lot of Memphis is as poised to cross this tenous inter-racial bridge! - If they were, 'Big Mike' would have owned a bed long before reaching his 15th birthday!] And as for Michael Oher and the Tuohys, I don't think that there's much that will come between them, and any 'pending' dire consequences. Q.) When does a parent go through this much to see that 'their child' is properly prepared for the world at large, and then simply abandon them? The answer is, that they don't. *What I find intriguing in this story, is the NCAA. - Q.) When did they become so pious? - They should be alittle more concerned with USC, than they are with Ol Miss! ...but the comment by Sean Sr., about the Mormons, is somewhat concerning. (and he's supposed to be the miracle worker with young people's minds - hhmmm.)

posted by dunnedidit at 01:53 PM on September 24, 2006

I don't share the Tuohys enthusiastically religious attitude, which I find ignorant and largely backwards, nor Sue Mitchell's overly liberal arts-minded attitude (Big Mike is going to somehow relate to the rags-to-riches themes of "Great Expectations" and "Pygmalion"!? Fer cryin' out loud, lady, get a grip!) . . . . . . but I've never considered doing anything as charitable, so before I get too self-righteous and smarmy about all of the things I find wrong with these people, let me just shut up.

posted by Bixby23 at 12:44 AM on September 25, 2006

Sounds like a hollywood sports movie in making, and we'll all go see any kind of sports movie over "sense and sensibility" any day.

posted by pnash5p at 01:25 PM on September 25, 2006

This was a great read. I can understand how some who consider the Tuohys a little off with their veiws but their hearts are in the right place. To help out a kid that's walking around in shorts in the middle of a snow storm is heartbreaking. How many people out there do you know would stop to help someone out like this? Class act I say.

posted by BornIcon at 11:30 AM on September 26, 2006

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