Little Big Man

My friend and kung-fu “training brother” Dan Betz has sent me a link to a remarkable tale about one Michael Oher, a young man from the most unfortunate circumstances imaginable, who, thanks to the intervention of a series of caring and concerned people, has risen from utter abandonment to become one of college football’s brightest prospects.

Young Michael, whose father was murdered, and whose mother, a crack addict, gave him up for foster care that later became simple homelessness, was a completely forgotten boy. Nobody, it seems, had ever shown him the least shred of love, or care, or attention, and when he arrived at the Briarcrest Christian School, brought there at at age 16 by an inner-city acquaintance, he was about as empty a vessel as a human being can be. He had wafted mutely through the West Memphis public schools like an enormous neutrino, and during this almost completely noninteractive passage, nobody had ever worried that he was learning absolutely nothing at all; he was passed up from grade to grade simply because it was easier than keeping him back. But as it happens, Michael was born with a genome that made him one of the rarest, and therefore most valuable, entities in the entire world of professional sports — the perfect left tackle.

You can read Michael’s story — and it is well worth reading — here. If you have difficulty accessing the article because you are not New York Times online subscriber, try the all-text version here.

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