Rupert Howell editorial

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 20, 2009

‘Blind Side’ reminds of value of local relations and connections

“The Blind Side” movie released yesterday is an adaptation of “The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game” by Michael Lewis, published in 2006.

Lewis tells the story of former Ole Miss left tackle Michael Oher. The locally-based true story says a lot about who we are and also more about who we need to be.

Oher is a friend and former teammate of brothers Peria and John Jerry and their cousin Jamarca Sandford, all former South Panola Tigers who attended Ole Miss.

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 The book has two story lines. The first examines how offensive football has changed due to Lawrence Taylor’s arrival in the 1980s and how his presence put greater worth on the job of the left tackle who protects the quarterback’s blind side.

Another story line follows Oher from his almost-homeless youth, through his high school years at Briarcrest Christian School  in Memphis and on to his place as a highly-recruited college prospect.

This year Oher was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens just ahead of his friend Peria Jerry of the Courtland-Eureka area who was signed by the Atlanta Falcons. Jerry is currently dealing with injuries sustained in the pre-season. Oher is currently pancaking defensive linemen.

But my reading of “The Blind Side” made me appreciate the extensive family ties that so many of our local Friday night heroes have.

While Oher had no blood relative to step in, take over and guide him as a youth, arguably half the South Panola team is related. Our local Friday night heroes have kinship that’s woven throughout the community offering not only superior physical genetics, but a safety net for those lacking in life’s necessities.

For those who won’t be going to see the movie anytime soon, read the book. Even if you don’t like football, you can skip the technical part and absorb an emotional account of survival, love and commitment based on a true story.

It will also make you glad that you live in a small community where all life is precious and few slip through the cracks.