For you football fans out there, it's Day 1 of the 2009 NFL draft. Superstar quarterbacks, wide receivers and defensive tackles are all on the block but Michael Oher, the Baltimore Ravens' 23rd overall pick, is a true superstar.
Stats: offensive left tackle for Ole Miss, 6'4 and weighs in at 309 lbs. Rated the No. 1 defensive player coming out of high school, his size and athleticism garnered scholarship offers from some of the best colleges in the NCAA.
I'm sure you're asking what, pray tell, does this have to do with books?
He is the subject of Michael Lewis's 2006 book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game. This book would probably be a better fit for football fans (me, for instance) but Oher's biography isn't like other players on the gridiron today. His career is not one of spotlights, trophies and national titles. He wasn't groomed to be a star, nor is he the product of a football dynasty. The obstacles he has faced in his life just to get to this day would break even the strongest of players.
His father was murdered. He was abandoned by his crackhead mother, left to the foster care system and ultimately, homeless until the age of 16. At the urging of a friend he was staying with, he applied to a mostly-white christian school and although the school administrators didn't think he could make it past one semester, he proved them wrong. The family of two students eventually took him in and adopted him. Now, Michael Oher is standing on the stage at Radio City, purple and black jersey in hand and tears in his eyes.
A superstar indeed. Way to go, Mike.