Friday Book Whimsy: The Blind Side

I know. I know. You are all thinking that you can’t believe I’m doing a review on a book published 15 years ago. Or maybe you think I’m doing a movie review of a film older than many of my grandkids. Never fear. It’s football season and watching the games reminded me of the book I first read shortly after it was published. The Blind Side by Michael Lewis was one of my favorite books when I first read it, and I liked it just as well when I re-read it recently.

It’s complete title is The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game. The game, of course, is professional football, and Lewis gives readers a lesson on how the game evolved from a mostly running game — power football, not that much different than traditional college football — to a the more finessed game that we watch every Sunday.

Everyone knows the story of Michael Oher, the homeless, nearly illiterate young man whom a wealthy, football-loving Memphis family took under their wing, giving him a fresh new life. The Blind Side movie will always be one of my favorite movies of all time. Two words: Sandra Bullock.

,Lewis’s book definitely uses Oher to demonstrate the real point of the book, which is how power football became the passing football we are all used to these days. And as the passing game increased in popularity, thanks largely to San Francisco 49ers Coach Bill Walsh and his then-renaissance “West Coast offense,” the game of professional football was permanently altered. He and Joe Montana changed the game of football.

Once the quarterback began dropping back to pass more frequently, having someone to protect the QB’s blind side — namely, the left tackle in most cases — he became the second most important player on the team as evidenced by salaries. What was a fairly nondescript position suddenly was critical to the game. Keeping the QB safe was top of everyone’s minds

Lewis is a wonderful writer, turning nonfiction into readable stories that are understandable to those unfamiliar with his topic, as evidenced by some of his other books such as Moneyball and The Big Short (both which interestly also became movies).

Just as I enjoyed the movie, I enjoyed the story of Michael Oher that was written within the pages of the book very much. But The Blind Side is so much more than the story of Oher. As much as I love football, so much about the game always has eluded me. Lewis’s descriptions of football plays and football players added texture and interest to this already readable book. And I learned so much about the game of football.

I can’t recommend it enough, especially for football fans.

Here is a link to the book.

Nimble Fingers

Any time I have any kind of health issue, Bill blames it on stress. If my tummy hurts, Bill says it’s because of stress. If I get a cold, stress has weakened my immune system. If I stub my toe, it’s because I was worrying about something which led to my tripping over my big toe.

There’s a line in the movie The Blind Side where Leigh Ann Tuohy (played brilliantly by Sandra Bullock) responds to something her husband says by saying, “You’re right,” to which he responds, “How’d that taste?” to which she responds, “Like vinegar.”

So, I have to say that there’s a pretty good chance that Bill is correct, and yes, that tasted like vinegar!

I know that I pledged that I was going to be entirely stress-free in 2017, but so far, it’s a slow-go. I’m better, I promise. But I do still worry about, well, just about everything, at least a little. You’d think being literally thousands of miles away from almost everyone I worry about would help, but then I just worry that I might have something to worry about but they aren’t telling me.

But I recently discovered that the answer to all of my stress-related concerns is the very thing I do almost daily – crocheting. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, because my grandmother happily knitted and crocheted just about any time she had the opportunity….


….and she seemed pretty stress-free, or at least it appeared so to me. She cried when she would laugh hard, and I saw her with sad tears when my grandpa died. Otherwise, she was always happy. Or hid her fear, stress, and sadness in ways that didn’t result in tummy aches, colds, and/or stubbed toes.

According to an article in the newsletter I receive on a regular basis from Red Heart (which sells all things yarn and yarn-related), crocheting and knitting are two of the best ways to control stress. The relaxed, repetitive motions used in crochet and knitting help to calm the body and brain. Crocheting and knitting keep the mind sharp as the crafter uses math skills while trying to work most patterns. And finally, these crafts improve fine motor skills and help to keep  fingers nimble.

For the most part, I find this to be true. For me, there is nothing more relaxing than sitting in my chair and working on something that requires nimble fingers but not a lot of counting or keeping track of a pattern. Perhaps my mind is improving every time I try to figure out a new pattern, but my path to heaven certainly isn’t getting any clearer because new projects = lots of cussing. I never heard my grandmother cuss.

Having said that, in my ways, being challenged by making something I have never before attempted to make is fun, and when I am successful, man! I feel so satisfied.

Not long ago, I made an afghan for my great-niece who recently turned 3. My sister Jen bought the yarn and I commenced crocheting…..


Lilly was very happy with her gift. A day or so later, my sister Bec asked me if I would make the same afghan so she could give it to her neighbors who recently had a baby. Again, she bought the yarn and I have begun that afghan. My niece Josey also inquired about the possibility of an afghan for her bed, and I agreed. I am very excited that I have lots of crochet projects in my future.

I will be so relaxed that Bill will have to carry me to bed.