The Windsor Star: The Blind Side Couple urges taking risk to do good

August 23rd, 2012

The Windsor Star
By Dalson Chen
August 23, 2012

 

Leigh Ann and Sean Tuohy, whose story was the basis for the book and Oscar-nominated movie The Blind Side, were the featured speakers at the Greater Essex County District School Board's annual summer conference Wednesday.
 When Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy met the boy who would become their adopted son Рcurrent NFL player Michael Oher Рthey had faith in his ability to rise above his desperate childhood.

But the Memphis couple can’t help thinking about those who aren’t so lucky.

“If the most obvious success story can slip through the cracks, imagine who gets left behind,” said Sean at the Caesars Windsor convention centre on Wednesday.

These days, the story of the Tuohys and Oher is well-known – popularized by a 2006 book and the 2009 Oscarnominated film The Blind Side.

It’s the inspirational tale of Oher’s journey from a broken, impoverished upbringing into the home and hearts of the relatively wealthy Tuohys, and eventual success both on and off the football field.

Leigh Anne described the movie as “scarily accurate” in its depictions, and said actress Sandra Bullock (who portrayed Leigh Anne in the film) did “an exceptional job.”

“For Hollywood not to screw something up is nothing short of a miracle, and they really nailed this,” Leigh Anne said.

Sean agreed with a grin. Asked if his wife was always so passionate, he quipped: “She was always this mean.”

The couple were in Windsor to be the featured guest speakers at the summer conference of the Greater Essex County District School Board.

Leigh Anne praised teachers for being “on the front lines” of making a difference.

“They’re out there fighting every day. They have these kids’ attention probably more than parents do,” she said.

Sean added that there are people like Michael in many walks of life, and the challenge is to find them and help them.

“My wife tells (people) to colour outside the lines, just a little bit,” Sean said. “It’s a non-comfort zone for people.”

According to the movie, there were those who felt the Tuohys were taking a great risk by bringing Oher into their house.

But Sean said people take risks every day. By his reckoning, just crossing the Windsor-Detroit tunnel could be considered a risk.

“There is a saying: Without risk, there’s no reward,” Sean said.

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