5 The Blind Side Quotes on Perseverance and Hope

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Blind Side" by Michael Lewis. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Are you looking for The Blind Side quotes? How does the book address major themes like perseverance, kindness, and opportunity?

These The Blind Side quotes help explain Michael Oher’s life and how he became successful. The quotes also help give context to Michael’s struggles and why the Tuohys decided to help him.

Keep reading for the best The Blind Side quotes.

The Blind Side Quotes

This list of The Blind Side quotes focuses on Michael Oher’s life and lessons.

Find out more with these The Blind Side quotes.

“He was ignorant, but a lot of people mistook ignorance for stupidity, and knowingness for intelligence.”

Michael was an enigma to these examiners. At 18, he still learned like a child learned, through association rather than knowledge. There had been an opportunity for Michael to learn to read and take in information properly when he arrived at Briarcrest, but his secretive and pleasing nature had hindered that. He’d hidden his deficiencies as best he could, faking his way through to avoid being considered stupid. But the examiners could tell he wasn’t stupid, and this belief was confirmed when they gave him a new IQ test. 

His previous IQ test scores as a child stated that his IQ was 80. With this IQ, he was determined to be unintelligent, so his poor performance was not considered a learning issue. He was learning about as well as could be expected with his lack of innate intelligence. But on this new IQ test, Michael scored between 100 and 110, which meant he was of average intelligence. 

This result baffled the examiners. IQ wasn’t supposed to change. They explained that IQ is based on both critical thinking in the moment and thinking based on experience. The problem with Michael as a young boy was that he’d had no experiences. There was no way for him to respond through experience or critically because of that. But since arriving at Briarcrest, he’d been immersed in experiences, so his ability to make conclusions was functioning more normally. These results were good for Michael. As a person of average intelligence, his learning achievements were now not in line with what he should be capable of. He legitimately had a learning disability. 

“A new force in pro football, Taylor demanded not just a tactical response but an explanation. Many people pointed to his unusual combination of size and speed. As one of the Redskins’ linemen put it, “No human being should be six four, two forty-five, and run a four-five forty.”

Lawrence Taylor changed the game of professional football upon his arrival in 1981. He introduced the element of fear in both the players and coaches that created a shift in priorities.

Taylor was not your typical left tackle. He was large, tall, and fast, a combination not often seen. He was driven and believed he was the greatest player to enter the NFL. Where other players saw winning as a way to keep their jobs, Taylor saw it as his way of life. He wanted to win at any cost, and his sole mission was to destroy the opposing quarterback. 

Taylor was out for blood and pursued his mission with zeal. He was like a freight train coming full speed down the field, and most offensive linemen couldn’t handle him. The threat of the violent encounters with Taylor created anxiety in them. One lineman who’d played for 11 years actually retired three years after Taylor entered the league. His fear of Taylor had become so great, he became ineffective. 

Today, the quarterback sack is a popular play in the NFL, but before 1982, there was no statistic for it. Taylor wasn’t the first player to lock his crosshairs on the quarterback, but he was so good at it during his first season, the league decided to create an official stat for it. A sack is technically when the quarterback is tackled behind the line of scrimmage. But for Taylor, a sack was when the quarterback was hit so hard, he saw triple and forgot where he was. 

“I lived here my whole life and I’ve never been to this neighborhood.’ And Big Mike finally spoke up. ‘Don’t worry,’ he said. ‘I got your back.

Michael still slept on the couch but was becoming part of the Tuohy family. He and the nine-year-old son, Sean Jr., became good friends. Finally, after several weeks of staying at the Tuohys’ house, Leigh Anne asked Michael if he’d like to stay permanently. She bought a dresser and a futon and showed Michael to his new room. When he saw the bed, he asked if it was his bed. When he learned it was, he told Leigh Anne he’d never had his own bed before. 

Leigh Anne set some rules for Michael now that he was staying with them. He could bring friends over if he wanted, even friends from West Memphis, and he was required to visit his mother, even if he didn’t want to. She also tried to get Michael to open up more about his past, but he wouldn’t. Eventually, Sean realized that the past was not important for Michael. He didn’t wallow in what had happened to him, but rather focused on today and making it to tomorrow. He lived in survival mode, and they agreed to let him be. 

Michael still slept on the couch but was becoming part of the Tuohy family. He and the nine-year-old son, Sean Jr., became good friends. Finally, after several weeks of staying at the Tuohys’ house, Leigh Anne asked Michael if he’d like to stay permanently. She bought a dresser and a futon and showed Michael to his new room. When he saw the bed, he asked if it was his bed. When he learned it was, he told Leigh Anne he’d never had his own bed before. 

Leigh Anne set some rules for Michael now that he was staying with them. He could bring friends over if he wanted, even friends from West Memphis, and he was required to visit his mother, even if he didn’t want to. She also tried to get Michael to open up more about his past, but he wouldn’t. Eventually, Sean realized that the past was not important for Michael. He didn’t wallow in what had happened to him, but rather focused on today and making it to tomorrow. He lived in survival mode, and they agreed to let him be. 

Still, the Tuohys were able to glean information about Michael’s history from his behavior. For instance, as part of the Tuohy household, Michael could now eat at any of Sean’s restaurants for free. But he always ordered extra food that he brought home for later. After seeing this food sitting in the refrigerator for days, Sean told him he didn’t need to store extra food. He could have fresh food whenever he wanted. Michael said he understood, but he still did it out of habit. 

“What I learned playing basketball at Ole Miss,” he said, “was what not to do: beat up a kid. It’s easy to beat up a kid. The hard thing is to build him up.”

This is one of The Blind Side quotes from Sean Tuohy. Michael had hoped to try out for the basketball team when his grades were good enough, and he spent his free time watching the team practice from the gym bleachers. This was where Sean Tuohy first spoke to Michael. He’d heard of him before from his daughter, Collins, who was a student at Briarcrest, and he’d seen him in the hallways several times. But that day, he decided to approach Michael. 

Sean was very familiar with the black students at Briarcrest. Many of them ran track with Collins, and over the years, he’d taken on the role as a sort of life coach and guardian angel for many of them. He’d donated money to the school to be used for scholarships for students who couldn’t afford the tuition and paid for many of the black students to eat lunch daily. 

Not having lunch at school was something Sean was familiar with. Sean grew up poor in New Orleans and had attended a private school where his father coached basketball. He received a full-ride scholarship to Ole Miss and was later drafted into the NBA. But his basketball career ended shortly after, and with his college sweetheart, Leigh Anne, he moved back to Memphis and became a self-made man. He owned 85 chain restaurants and a private jet. He was a born-again Christian and started one of the most popular evangelical churches in Memphis. He was also the voice of the Memphis Grizzlies. 

Michael had hoped to try out for the basketball team when his grades were good enough, and he spent his free time watching the team practice from the gym bleachers. This was where Sean Tuohy first spoke to Michael. He’d heard of him before from his daughter, Collins, who was a student at Briarcrest, and he’d seen him in the hallways several times. But that day, he decided to approach Michael. 

Sean was very familiar with the black students at Briarcrest. Many of them ran track with Collins, and over the years, he’d taken on the role as a sort of life coach and guardian angel for many of them. He’d donated money to the school to be used for scholarships for students who couldn’t afford the tuition and paid for many of the black students to eat lunch daily. 

Not having lunch at school was something Sean was familiar with. Sean grew up poor in New Orleans and had attended a private school where his father coached basketball. He received a full-ride scholarship to Ole Miss and was later drafted into the NBA. But his basketball career ended shortly after, and with his college sweetheart, Leigh Anne, he moved back to Memphis and became a self-made man. He owned 85 chain restaurants and a private jet. He was a born-again Christian and started one of the most popular evangelical churches in Memphis. He was also the voice of the Memphis Grizzlies. 

Sean was a man of action and was interested in helping others achieve their potential. He often helped the basketball coaches at Briarcrest as a consultant, which was why he was there the day he met Michael. He recognized that Michael always wore the same clothes—cutoff jeans and a large t-shirt—and figured he probably didn’t have money for lunch. After offering Michael money for food and being turned down, he put money in Michael’s school account to pay for lunch for the rest of the year. 

“I was gonna put him on the bus…I got tired of him talking, it was time for him to go home.”

Somehow, the Mumford players and fans hadn’t become aware of Michael’s rising status and only saw a giant blob of a player on the field. Right away, a 220-pound defensive end started heckling Michael. He made fun of his weight and taunted him about his play. Michael tried to ignore the taunting at first, but his anger grew. 

On the next play, Michael was instructed to block the mouthy kid from the quarterback. Instead, when the whistle blew, Michael picked the player up by his chest plate and ran him down the field. He took a left and headed toward the Mumford bench, knocking players and coaches out of the way. Michael’s path ended when just about every Mumford player tackled him. 

Somehow, the Mumford players and fans hadn’t become aware of Michael’s rising status and only saw a giant blob of a player on the field. Right away, a 220-pound defensive end started heckling Michael. He made fun of his weight and taunted him about his play. Michael tried to ignore the taunting at first, but his anger grew. 

On the next play, Michael was instructed to block the mouthy kid from the quarterback. Instead, when the whistle blew, Michael picked the player up by his chest plate and ran him down the field. He took a left and headed toward the Mumford bench, knocking players and coaches out of the way. Michael’s path ended when just about every Mumford player tackled him. 

The referees blew their whistles and were about to call a penalty on Michael, but they didn’t know what to call. The whistle to end the play hadn’t been blown, so technically, Michael had done nothing wrong. When Sean asked Michael what he’d been thinking during the play, Michael simply said he was tired of hearing the kid’s mouth and was taking him to the team bus. Sean suppressed his laughter and told him that he had to start playing with more discipline now. He was a big deal, and all eyes would be on him. That was the moment everyone saw that Michael had the competitiveness he would need to succeed. 

This is just a few of the many The Blind Side motivational quotes. You can also find quotes about other themes in the book, like opportunity, football, and systemic racism.

5 The Blind Side Quotes on Perseverance and Hope

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Michael Lewis's "The Blind Side" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full The Blind Side summary:

  • How Michael Oher went from the projects in Memphis to the NFL
  • Why the combination of size and speed became essential for football stars
  • How Oher was taken in by the wealthy Tuohy family

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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