My wife Donna and I went to the Saturday afternoon movies again and we saw The Blind Side. It’s based on a true story of an NFL player, Michael Oher, who plays for the Baltimore Ravens here in Maryland where our headquarters is located. It was a wonderful film and conveyed a very important message.
Michael was born to a mother who was addicted to drugs and was estranged from his father. He spent much of his childhood and teenage years in various foster homes with very little parental influence in his life and he struggled tremendously in school, when he did go.
However, Michael’s luck completely changed when he met Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, whose children attended the same school. The Tuohy’s took Michael in to their home and raised him as if he was their own. They provided him with structure and warmth he had never experienced, and it was during this time of his life that he discovered that he could play football.
Nearly six and a half feet tall and weighing more than 300 pounds, Michael was surprisingly agile and proved to be excellent at the defensive tackle position. Under the care of the Tuohy’s, Michael began to flourish on the football field, in the classroom and socially, and was accepted to Ole Miss University, a feat no one ever thought he could accomplish. Earlier this year, he was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the NFL draft and has had a great, successful rookie season.
Michael Oher’s story is reminiscent of my dad’s. As I’ve mentioned before, my father did not have enough money or sufficient high school credits to go to college. But a man named Aaron Tracy recognized his potential and helped him make up those credits and find odd jobs to start making money. If Aaron Tracy hadn’t taken my dad under his wing and helped him out, he would never have been able to achieve all that he did.
The same goes for Michael Oher. If the Tuohy’s had not taken him in and helped him find his path, he would not be where he is today. Stories like my father’s and Michael Oher’s show just how important it is to provide others with opportunities to better themselves and help them grow. It’s something I always try to keep in mind for our associates at Marriott. They show greatness every day and help me keep Marriott on the move.