If ever there were a player who is worth rooting for, no matter what team he is on, Michael Oher is that guy. If not for the movie The Blind Side , most of us may never know his incredible story.
Here is a guy who was born to a mother addicted to crack. He had many siblings from many fathers. He didn't even know who his father was for most of his childhood. Many of the things most of us take for granted as kids (stable home, loving parents, food on the table, own bedroom, etc.) were not there for Oher.
Throughout his whole childhood, he had to persevere and overcome the hand that was dealt him. It was not until he was in high school that the Tuohy family adopted him. The Tuohys deserve a lot of credit for that; they had a lot more to lose than they had to gain.
Sure they saw his potential as a great football player, but it is not like they needed money. The Tuohys were a rich, white, Republican family. They lived in a part of Tennessee that was very set in its ways, as was their circle of friends.
Needless to say, adopting a big, black kid from the other side of town was not something folks in that part of the country were lining up to do.
As you might expect, Oher was never the best student in keeping up his grades. The Tuohys had to hire a private tutor who would follow him all the way to Ole Miss and remain his tutor until the Baltimore Ravens drafted him.
If that is not a great story, I don't know what is. He goes from being homeless for part of his childhood to being an NFL lineman.
Oher was such a great prospect out of high school that every major college in the south offered him a scholarship. Watching the movie, there were so many recruiters that came to his home that you couldn't count them all.
The part I found sad was that Notre Dame was not one of the schools that tried to recruit him. Do you think Jimmy Clausen would have liked to have Oher in front of him for a good part of his career?
Notre Dame has always made it a point to maintain their high academic standards and still try to build a competitive football team. While I have always commended that, I am beginning to wonder if it is the right thing to do.
The reality is that Notre Dame hasn't seriously contended for a National title since 1993. That is 17 years. The Irish also haven't won a National Title since 1988. That is 22 years. If you ask me, it is time for Notre Dame to really look at how they do things and think about if it is really the right way to go.
The fact is, a player like Michael Oher would have never gotten a chance in South Bend. That really makes me scratch my head. Not every kid comes from an upbringing that fosters academic success. Does that mean they not worthy to be students of Notre Dame?
Would it really be that horrible for Notre Dame to bend a little for a player with a background similar to Oher's? Does it really go against what Notre Dame stands for?
I sure hope not. There are certain players that are worth taking a chance on, and Michael Oher proved to be one of them. The reality was that he was going to Ole Miss even if Notre Dame had tried to recruit him. That is where his family went to school and where he wanted to go.
However, that does not mean that there is not another Micheal Oher out there. I would certainly love to see Notre Dame take a chance on one. After all, isn't that what colleges are supposed to do? Aren't they supposed to put young adults in a position to be successful?
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