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Season of Life: A Football Star, a Boy, a Journey to Manhood

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The bestselling inspirational book in which the author reunites with a childhood football hero, now a minister and coach, and witnesses a revelatory demonstration of the true meaning of manhood— Season of Life is a book that “should be required reading for every high school student in America and every parent as well” (Carl Lewis, Olympic champion).

Joe Ehrmann, a former NFL football star and volunteer coach for the Gilman high school football team, teaches his players the keys to successful defense: penetrate, pursue, punish, love. Love? A former captain of the Baltimore Colts and now an ordained minister, Ehrmann is serious about the game of football but even more serious about the purpose of life. Season of Life is his inspirational story as told by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Jeffrey Marx, who was a ballboy for the Colts when he first met Ehrmann.

Ehrmann now devotes his life to teaching young men a whole new meaning of masculinity. He teaches the boys at Gilman the precepts of his Building Men for Others program: Being a man means emphasizing relationships and having a cause bigger than yourself. It means accepting responsibility and leading courageously. It means that empathy, integrity, and living a life of service to others are more important than points on a scoreboard.

Decades after he first met Ehrmann, Jeffrey Marx renewed their friendship and watched his childhood hero putting his principles into action. While chronicling a season with the Gilman Greyhounds, Marx witnessed the most extraordinary sports program he’d ever seen, where players say “I love you” to each other and coaches profess their love for their players. Off the field Marx sat with Ehrmann and absorbed life lessons that led him to reexamine his own unresolved relationship with his father.

Season of Life is a book about what it means to be a man of substance and impact. It is a moving story that will resonate with athletes, coaches, parents—anyone struggling to make the right choices in life.

192 pages, Hardcover

First published August 24, 2004

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About the author

Jeffrey Marx

11 books6 followers
Jeffrey Marx is the New York Times bestselling author of Season of Life and
The Long Snapper: A Second Chance, a Super Bowl, a Lesson for Life. He is also the recipient of the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. He has also written for numerous publications, including Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, Time, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and The Baltimore Sun. Marx lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 226 reviews
Profile Image for Jeff.
47 reviews7 followers
June 17, 2011
There is generally a theme or a good story I get from every good book. Here's my favorite line from this book, spoken after a mother asked the coach how good this year's team was going to be. "Won't know for twenty years," the coach responded. "That's when we'll know what kind of husbands and fathers they'll be. That's when we know what kind of men they'll be."

Boy, I love that.

I love it when sports books transcend the facts and figures and final scores and goes into what life is all about.

This is an excellent book. It happens to involve football. But it's not about football.
Profile Image for Anita Pomerantz.
637 reviews96 followers
May 19, 2017
This book probably should be handed out to new fathers when their babies are born in the hospital. Not kidding. It's really a philosophy book disguised as a book about a high school football team. The coach, a former player for Baltimore Colts (now the Indianapolis Colts) ended up coaching this team, and he brought a unique perspective on masculinity to his coaching style. He points out that boys are constantly measured - - first by their athletic prowess, then by the number (and hotness) of girls they date (sleep with), and later by the money they make - - and that these traits are not good measures of a man. His whole coaching approach emphasized the importance of love, bringing your best self to the situation, leveraging your personal traits, etc. The book's author followed this team for a year and does a nice job of weaving these life lessons into a compelling story about a young team. In the process, he manages to further his relationship with his own father.

It's definitely a moving book that imparts important lessons. It's unfortunate that many men don't really read (my sons being among those) because honestly, it's a book that deserves a much wider audience. I think it would benefit a lot of families.

As an interesting side note, my sons attended the high school of the team featured in the book, making it that much more interesting for me, but the events pre-dated their arrival.
Profile Image for John Kelley.
134 reviews2 followers
January 15, 2013
Purported to be a book about a relationship with a father, and it loomed in the background, but wasn't really there until the end. More about men being able to express express love as seen through the lens of sport and football. The coaching philosophy may seem corny to some, and certainly you're never going to get along with everyone, but I'd rather I play for (or my kids play for) this type of coach. You can be hardnosed and demand excellence, but it doesn't have to be demeaning. You see too much of that today--they're children for crying out loud looking for guidance and approval! Athletics for most are more about building better people and teaching life lessons of working with others, leadership, and effort leading to reward (even if not wins). My son is on a wrestling team that is really struggling, but it has been a great experience because the coaches are molding young men and pleased with putting forth everything in practice and matches. If the outcome is in the team's favor, so much the better.
Profile Image for Matthew Eisenberg.
307 reviews6 followers
June 27, 2020
This is the 214th book review I've written on Goodreads, and this is the third time I will characterize a book as "required reading."

The first 2 books I characterized as "required reading" (Profiles in Courage and Between the World and Me) were 5-star books. Season of Life is not a 5-star book. The narrative, which follows The Gilman School football team for a season, is rather ho-hum. But the 2 men who lead the Gilman football program are more invested in communicating the sage perspectives they promote as part of their "Building Men for Others" program than they are in wins in losses. These perspectives concern how masculinity is defined, the relationships shared by fathers and sons, and by men in general. They articulate and demonstrate those perspectives to their players expertly, and the perspectives themselves are as invaluable as they are true.

The gist---our society has long defined masculinity based on physical prowess, sexual conquest, and economic success. The coaches at Gilman replace that "false masculinity" with the notion that masculinity ought to be defined in terms of relationships, the capacity to love and to be loved. As Coach Joe Ehrmann says:

"If you look over your life at the end of it... the only thing that's really going to matter is the relationships you had. What kind of father were you? What kind of husband were you? What kind of coach or teammate were you? What kind of son were you? What kind of brother were you? What kind of friend were you?... At the end of our life, we ought to be able to look back over it... and know that the world was a better place because we lived, we loved, we were other-centered, other-focused."

The coaches explain that in practice, living a life for others involves practicing empathy, accepting responsibility, leading courageously, and enacting justice on behalf of others.

The book itself is not a tremendously interesting read. But it's difficult for me to imagine anyone being exposed to the values the coaches repeatedly communicate and demonstrate to their players and fail to recognize the truth in them. Furthermore, I am confident that if every man read and internalized the lessons imparted by Season of Life, they would be much more fulfilled people enjoying healthier relationships while making more significant and positive contributions to society.

Bottom line---Season of Life is an okay book that, despite its middling quality, should be required reading of all men aged 16 and up.
147 reviews1 follower
December 13, 2014
This book gives good examples of teaching life lessons through sports, specifically to boys. The purpose is about replacing false masculinity: athletic ability, sexual conquest, and economic success; with true masculinity: strong relationships, a transcendent cause, and a code of conduct.

The main thing I learned and immediately started to implement with my children is teaching them empathy.

I need to reevaluate what I want for my children, and methods to achieve these goals. I have a few principles seemingly at odds with each other:

I want children that are tough, but children that empathize with others.
We don't baby them when they get physically "hurt", because they should be tough enough to take little hurts. We need to do a better job of empathizing with emotional hurts. These emotional hurts will feel the same as when they are adults.

I want children to be hard workers, but to help other people.
We don't help them as much, because we want them to do it on their own (work hard). Then, they see our example of not helping. We should work with them as best our time allows, and also help other people with them.

Does anyone have any suggestions?
Profile Image for Robert Ellington.
279 reviews2 followers
August 2, 2014
Really enjoyed this. If I ever get back to coaching, this will be a book that I reference frequently.
May 22, 2018
When the issue on gender stereotypes come up in a conversation, most people will think of discrimination women face because of gender norms. Though this discrimination is evident and is an issue in society, so are gender norms put on men. Season of Life: a football star, a boy, a journey to manhood by Jeffrey Marx is a book that focuses on the gender norms put upon young men growing up. Marx uses literary techniques in his writing to inform the reader about the lesser known stereotypes high school boys have to face and how society can work to eliminate these stereotypes.

Jeffrey Marx allows the reader to obtain the information in the book through how personal he makes the novel. One way he does this is through his word choice. Many authors are hesitant to use relaxed, every-day vocabulary, but in this case, Marx uses a surplus of basic vocabulary. An example of this is when Marx writes, “‘I have no idea,’ Biff said. ‘Won’t really know for twenty years.’ ‘Huh?”” (Marx 53). The author easily could have gotten his point across using more extended vocabulary, but by using a simpler word, he allows the reader to connect more with the story. When the audience connects with what they are reading, they tend to understand the information that the author is trying to get across better, and that is no exception with this example.

Another way that the author makes Season of Life more connectable for the reader is writing in dialog. Marx uses dialog between the characters throughout his book, and this leads to the reader being able to be more invested in the book. An example of how Marx uses dialog is when he writes, “‘What did you say?’ ‘I don’t need this shit,’ Mike repeated. ‘Get off the field.’ ‘I’m not coming back.’ ‘Get off the field!’” (Marx 60). This conversation between Biff and a student could have been summarized in one sentence by the author, but instead Marx decides to write the conversation out fully. This allowed the reader to put themself into the story and imagine the conversation going down right in front of them. When the reader is able to visualize the actions in the book, they are able to absorb the information that the author is trying to transfer to the reader.

In order for the information to really get across to the reader, the author has to allow the audience to connect with the characters. The way Marx accomplishes this is through his use of anecdotes. For example, Marx writes, “Billy had just finished a workout one day at the Colts training camp when he first noticed the ugly bruises-dark and menacing-all over his upper torso and arms...Joe asked the team trainer to take a look, just to play it safe, and the trainer wanted Billy to see a doctor...Billy had a wicked form of cancer called aplastic anemia,” (Marx 16-17). Anecdotes like these allow the reader to see into the character’s pasts and connect with them. The anecdotes give the characters’ depth, and allows the audience to see aspects of themselves in the characters. This once again makes the story as a whole more relatable, allowing the audience to understand the information being expressed in the novel.

I really enjoyed this book, and I recommend it for anyone 13 and up. It was very interesting seeing the male side of gender norms, since almost all attention is on eliminating gender norms for women. Jeffrey Marx has a similar writing style as Mitch Albom, so I recommend this book for fans of Mitch Albom as well. This is a unique type of a sports story, and readers who enjoy sports books will also enjoy this novel.

2 reviews
September 3, 2018
This book starts with the Author Jeffrey Marx flashing back to his childhood where as a child he went through his life with a weak connection between him and his father. As a child Marx was interested in football and was amazing when he found that the Baltimore Colts where practicing just a few feet away from his tennis Camp. Jeff would find himself over watching and finding every chance to help out the colts as he could after he was done with Tennis practice. Eventually became great friends with players and was named ball boy of the Baltimore Colts a great honor for a child his age. He became extreme close with one of the players named Joe Ehrmann a excellent Defensive lineman for the colts. Joe would soon give Jeff the nickname of Brillo towards his hairstyle. Life seems to be going great for Joe until his brother gets Cancer and his life changes forever.

Joe's brother Billy passes a while after being diagnosed with Cancer and Joe's perspective on life is changed forever. After finishing his long NFL Career Joe become a Pastor for a new location called the door which helps underprivileged kids learn how to grow up. This is the point in time where Jeff and Joe reconnect after years of not interacting after joes NFL career ended and Jeff started College. Joe then lefts the door and becomes a pastor at a nearby church and an coach of The Gilman football team. The main thing Joe teaches at his Church and to his football players is how Boys are to be turned into men and how they should be built for others. Meaning that real men care about others more than themselves.

Joe coaches with old friend and also great football and personal mind Biff Poggi. These to coach a great football team who learn that football and life in general is not always about yourself or about winning but about giving it all you got and about doing things for others. Throughout the ups and down of the season the boys learn greatly from there coaches and end up achieving their goals as a football team and also become great men in the process.

As Jeff hangs along with the team all season and has talks with joe throughout the season to truly discuss what building men for others really means he learns that what connecting he has with his father is not great and needs to do something about it. So Jeff finish this great book by explaining how he has reconnected with his father on an emotionally level and how greatly that can help any relationship and helps bring their family together.
2 reviews
September 4, 2018
This book written by Jeffrey Marx, "Season of Life: A Football Star, a Boy, a Journey to Manhood," is a story of Jeff (a Boy) growing up as a child being a big fan of the Baltimore Colts NFL team along with being a fan/friend of Joe Ehrmann (A Football Star) a D-Lineman on the Baltimore Colts. It starts where Jeff is at a tennis practice with the Colts in a close radius to his practice and being the football fan Jeff is, he would spend more time watching practice, than playing tennis. By being friends with Joe, Jeff had become closer to the team as a whole and of course even closer to Joe, so close that he feels Joes brother is kind of like a brother to him, but a very close friend. Joe and Jeff had been loving their lives, until one tragic event had changed Joe, his brother had died of a rare type of cancer on December 19th, 1978.

This had changed Joe, he had stopped playing football and had become a minister and had helped out to coach the Gilman Greyhounds. He had become a minister for a place that helps the unprivileged in life and growing up.

This is where the "a Journey to Manhood" in the title comes into this. While being a minister and a football coach, his main focus is to make boys, men. What this means is to care for others over yourself, such as show empathy, have integrity, and help out in your community.

Although Joe was not the head coach, his friend Francis "Biff" Poggi was the head coach, and a big thing Poggi said was "If we lose every game of the year, go oh-and-ten on the football field, as long as we try hard, I don’t care. You learn these lessons, and we’re ten-and-oh in the
game of life.” He was just like Joe in wanting to man these boys up.

Jeff was kind of like the number 1 fan of this team being everywhere with them and writing stuff down about Joe, Poggi and the rest of the team.

While going through all this, tagging along with the team, being friends with Joe and Biff, he learns that he must do something about the problem he has with the dad he was never close with, and thats exactly what he does, he reconnects with his dad, which is a very good ending to such a good book.
Profile Image for Sue.the.very.busy.reader.
847 reviews7 followers
October 6, 2019
“In the end it’s not the mistakes you make that matter. It’s what you do with what you learn from those mistakes. And it’s how you respond to the mistakes of others.” —Biff Poggi

Season of Life by Jeffery Marx is a wonderful story about Joe Ehrmann, who played for the Baltimore Colts. After his football career and the death of his brother he changed his life and his purpose to helping others. In doing so, he aligned himself with some other remarkable people and together they started the Building Men for Others program. They created a philosophy for coaching young boys in football which they hope will be the foundation of their character as they develop into men.

This book was recommended to me by a former co-worker who is a mother of two little boys. I think parents of boys and people who work with boys should read this book it has some really profound thoughts worth thinking about.

Here is another quote that I am pondering….
When reflecting on your life it really come down to this quote, “What kind of father (mother) were you? What kind of husband (wife) were you? What kind is son (daughter) were you? What kind of brother (sister) were you? What kind of friend were you?” I added the words in parentheses because this book mainly focus on men. But this quote can apply to anyone.

I took my photo at Mineral Point, WI today. My husband and I stopped by to see the Pendarvis House. It is an historical area of houses that were built and preserved before Wisconsin became a state. We could not get into the houses because the site was closed. We walked around the area and there was a park area which was beautiful.

Finally the book Season of Life was the last book I needed to complete the avid reader challenge of the Hope by the Book Challenge, now onto the next level.
75 reviews
January 1, 2020
To My Sons,

I recently read a book called Season of Life. It raised many interesting points and brought to my attention a deficiency in my parenting thus far. The book made me understand the importance of defining to each of you what it means to be a man from my perspective. I am sorry for not doing this sooner. In order to explain what I believe being a man means, I first want to explain what it doesn’t mean.

How many points you score, how many girls you conquer and how much money you have are the measures that the world will repeatedly throw in your face as the proper measure of a man. I know from experience what it is like to live with these pressures, and I must admit that through out the course of my life, I measured my worth , and pursued each of these false measures, with selfish and relentless aggression. Having the benefit of a few grey hairs, and in large part due to your mother and my four children I have realized and accepted the error of this way of living.

Here is what I believe it means to be a man.
1. A man accepts responsibility for his actions, and for the actions of those people for whom he is responsible. This duty never goes away, and a true man will accept his responsibilities at all times. As young men, your responsibilities are largely assigned to you by your parents, and you will make some mistakes along the way – this is normal and part of the learning process.
Each of you has made me proud repeatedly with your respective responsibility.
2. A man must lead courageously at all times. This means that you stand up for what you believe, and you stand in front of others that are not capable of standing for themselves. Acting this way means that you will take abuse from lesser people, including at times friends and family. Courage is a special trait, and it will often put you in harms way. If you make a mistake – take responsibility for it, and have the courage to accept the consequences.
I have seen both of you act courageously, and it makes me very proud every time you do it! Please also know that I will always stand with you regardless of the situation.
3. A man has a cause bigger than himself. This means that you spend time and effort to champion a cause that deserves your talents. This can be helping the homeless, watching out for kids with disabilities, or teaching others to read. Over the last few years this need to serve others has grown exponentially in importance, and I know I could be setting a better example to each of you. Serving others is what men do, it often requires heavy doses of Items 1 & 2.
What is your cause? I challenge you to find one and pursue it.
4. A man has faith, Faith means you accept the fact that there is a higher power out there. Your family is Catholic, and this faith is what you are given as children. As you grow into men I challenge you to explore and understand this faith, and I am hear to support you in any way you need. At this point, I am sure there is a God, I am sure I am not him, and although I don’t completely understand that higher power I take solace and peace knowing that he is out there and watching over me.
The good lord is behind you in everything you do.
5. Lastly – manhood is about love, saying it to those you care about at every opportunity, and understanding that love expects nothing in return. I love both of you with all my heart and soul, and I am humbled by the character and courage that each of your exhibit on a daily basis.

The success of your life will be measured by the impact you have on others and the strength of the relationship you build. Its not about things, its about people.

I am proud you are my sons, and I am grateful that you are in my life.

I love you.

2 reviews
September 4, 2018
This book teaches one of the less talked about but very important issues in today's world, which is the process of turning boys into men. Many boys don't have the right guidance during this journey, and that could be due to a lack of father figure, or simply a lack of proper attention and care.

In this book, Marx rejoins a childhood friend, ex-NFL player, Joe Ehrmann, and they go through a high school football season together. Joe coaches the Gilman High School football team, and he does everything he can to make sure that his players are developing into respectful and proper men. I personally love how the football team is used to show examples of growing up throughout the story, and Marx does a great job of highlighting the importance of teaching these boys the correct way.

One of the biggest recurring themes is being a man built for others, which shows the importance of selflessness, and how actions should be carried out with a purpose beyond your own personal benefit. While reading, I definitely thought of ways to apply this to my own life, and I'm sure many people could do the same.

I highly recommend reading this book, because you may start to think about your own life and how you could apply these lessons for yourself, to better yourself for you, and for the people around you.
Profile Image for Brett Gorney.
47 reviews1 follower
September 26, 2019
Having grown up near Baltimore in my elementary school days, this book brought back some old memories when different high schools were named as my older brother competed against all of them in Lacrosse. Also mentions of the old Memorial Stadium where I watched countless Baltimore Orioles and a few Colts games brought back so many memories! But on to the book...

In a nutshell... kids need more coaches like Joe Ehrman and Francis “Biff” Poggi. This is a great true story that should tug on the hearts of most men. If you’re a dad with kids I’d recommend reading it. If your a teenager with a dad.. I’d recommend reading it.

The coaches “Building Men for Others” program is one I wish my high school coaches would have known about back in the day. Teaching young men what true masculinity means versus what this world tells you it means to be a man is so crucial for a young man or any man to grasp.

“Too many men bury their fathers without every really knowing them”. - So true.

All in all I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to any men.
Profile Image for Mike.
53 reviews14 followers
May 27, 2008
Season of Life, by Jeffrey Marx, is about ex-NFL player and current minister, speaker, workshop-leader, and part-time HS football coach Joe Ehrmann. Season of Life offers Marx's mini-biography of Joe Ehrmann, as well as an explication of Ehrmann's philosophy of 'strategic masculinity' and developing character in student-athletes through sports.

The PE staff, coaches, students and parents with whom I have met in recent years to discuss Ehrmann's 'code of conduct' have found many themes in Season of Life that resonate for us. One of these resonant themes came from the author's Jr. High basketball coach:
'He instilled in me a simple but powerful philosophy--'No Regrets'--that became the core of everything I wanted to be,' writes Jeff Marx. 'In basketball, no regrets meant that as long as we did all we could to prepare, as long as we practiced and played as hard as we possibly could, then we would never have to worry about the outcome of a game. Win or lose, we would never have to experience the emptiness of regret because we would always know that we had given our best. But when Mr. Spano taught me about no regrets, he was not really teaching me basketball. He was teaching me life. He was teaching me that as long as I always expended maximum effort in whatever I was doing, as long as I always acted responsibly, as long as I always conducted myself with class and pride and extended kindness to others, then I would never have anything to worry about. No Regrets--that's what I'd want on my tombstone.' (pp. 121-122, emphasis in original)

On p. 3 of the book, readers are introduced to the familiar question-and-answer sequence that Coach Ehrmann uses with his Gilman High School players before every practice and game:
'What is our job as coaches?' he asked.
'To love us,' the boys yelled back in unison.
'What is your job?' Joe shot back.
'To love each other,' the boys responded.
The words were spoken with the familiarity of a mantra, the commitment of an oath, the enthusiasm of a pep rally.

We later learn that Ehrmann has also started a foundation (called 'Building Men for Others') through which he 'teach[es] boys his own definition of masculinity, and a code of conduct for manhood' (p. 29).

Rather than an impoverished definition of manhood (or one 'based on all the wrong things--money, fame, [and] power'), Joe espouses a different vision by offering his own 'profound understanding of what it really means, really ought to mean, to be a man. First and foremost,' he asserts, 'is the ability to enter and maintain meaningful relationships' (p. 30).

On p. 36, Ehrmann discusses 'the three components of what he term[s] 'false masculinity': athletic ability, sexual conquest, and economic success.' His paradigm of 'strategic masculinity,' by contrast, is more 'other-centered, other-focused,' and measures its success 'in terms of [the quality of one's] relationships' and 'the importance of having a cause beyond oneself' (p. 124).

Or, as his alter ego and fellow Gilman football coach Biff Poggi explains it to their players: 'the way we measure greatness is the impact you make on other people's lives' (p. 48). Ehrmann and Poggi thus actively foster a very inclusive culture and atmosphere within their team and school.

They also stress the biblical 'parable of talents,' in order to emphasize the importance they give to every player's fulfilling his own unique potential to the utmost. 'Some of us get paralyzed when we feel we don't have 'as much as' or 'as good as' someone else,' Coach Ehrmann says. 'But the person we really want to honor is the one who maximizes whatever it is he has' (p. 51).

Ehrmann's and Poggi's philosophy of coaching is easily summarized: 'teach 'em, love 'em, let 'em have a good experience.' They also have a very long-term view of how to evaluate their own effectiveness and impact on their players. As Poggi puts it: 'I won't really know how successful they're gonna be till they come back to visit in twenty years. Then I'll be able to see what kind of husbands they are. I'll be able to see what kind of fathers they are. I'll see what they're doing in the community' (p. 53).

'Win or lose,' as Jeff Marx notes, the Gilman coaches 'play down the significance of the outcome' of their games. Rather, 'the main thing' they want to see is 'good effort and sportsmanship' (p. 57).

Since Ehrmann debunks 'the societal-based, age-related progression from athletic ability to sexual conquest to economic success' as 'false masculinity,' he touts the value of empathy as 'the single greatest trait of humanity that separates us from other animals....All the power and prestige and possessions in the world will never make up for failed relationships,' he points out (pp. 97-99).

Men and boys might also be especially drawn to Ehrmann's discussion of 'father longing' and his description of men's and boys' frequent 'inability to put emotions into words' (which psychologists sometimes call 'normative male alexithymia') on p. 100. As Ehrmann puts it, males tend to 'compare and...compete, but we never really connect' (p. 101).

As we learn on p. 140, 'Joe's code of conduct revolves around four 'strategic masculinity traits' that form what he calls 'the moral and ethical foundation of a man built for others:

* He accepts responsibility.
* He leads courageously.
* He enacts justice on behalf of others.
* He expects God's greater rewards.'

'Wherever there is injustice,' Ehrmann insists, we ought to show up, stand up, and speak up.... Whenever we can show up, stand up, and speak up, that's when we start changing the world. . . and all of us need to do that' (p. 145)

Amen, Coach & Rev. Joe!
Profile Image for Will.
85 reviews2 followers
April 21, 2019
Season of Life is the story of a famous pro football player who loses his little brother to cancer and transforms himself into a man of God. Joe Erhmann becomes a charity worker and then an assistant coach for a private Catholic high school football team. A reporter and former ball-boy of Joe's joins him for a season, the author who has a shallow relationship with his father. The coaching style is called Building Men for Others, and it's about love, loving your teammates and being good people. The success of this team in the coaches eyes is not the W-L at the end of the season, but the kind of men they are in 20 years. I loved this book.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
20 reviews
November 2, 2020
Joe Ehrmann and Biff Poggi have crafted a unique philosophy of manhood as applied to the ultra-masculine world of football, and their efforts to impart said philosophy to the high school team they coach are truly inspiring—how many football coaches out there talk as much about loving each other and living life in service of others as they do about x's and o's? However, there's not a ton of depth to the story, and it felt like the thread involving the author and his father received somewhat short shrift. All in all a very worthwhile read, and an important one for anyone with a too-narrow concept of what it means to be a man.
172 reviews
January 9, 2022
The overarching message of Season of Life is to have empathy for those around you. Success comes to those who put others first.

I think this is a good message; I believe it, I teach my kids in this way, and I actually make a modest attempt at living it. However, the downside to these types of books is the schmaltzy style in which they're typically written.

Marx' style isn't notably different from "typical" in this case. The difference, I suppose, is that the book's context is (as an SI reviewer puts it) "the most violent of American games." The protagonists of this story would call that "false masculinity"... oh, well.
Profile Image for LAMONT D.
521 reviews3 followers
March 18, 2023
I had forgotten what a powerful book this is with a powerful and timeless message. A easy read to follow the story of our author reconnecting with the former Baltimore Colts football player and leaning in on a season with his friend as they lead a group of young men in high school through a football season. But it is so much more as he has private conversations about what it is to find meaning in life, have relationships, and heal from any previous wounds concerning your relationship with your dad. A good book to give to any coach, father and man seeking what it is to truly be masculine, truly grow up to be a man.
Profile Image for Shanna Wright.
234 reviews2 followers
July 28, 2018
Oh WOW! I don’t know that I would have picked this one up on my own (it was a staff-required summer read for my school). I’m not a big football fan, but you don’t need to be for this book. The author does such a good job of keeping the language relevant to multiple audience while still keeping the “Friday night lights” sort of excitement for the team being followed. But the point is not football...it is the life lessons their coaches are teaching them in what it means to truly be a man. This book is amazing.
2 reviews
September 4, 2018
This book was one of the most influential pieces of literature in my life. It was a very motivational book and it helped me get perspective on how I was lucky to have the father that I have. When I was done reading I wanted to read it again. I was also pondering what kind of man I've been in the past and who I want to be in the past.
It was a great book by jeffrey marx. I would recommend this book to anyone, especially guys. It can teach you something that you probably won't hear from anyone else in your life.
12 reviews
September 28, 2018
¨Season of Life¨ is a non fiction book about a boy growing up as a part of an NFL football program. He is the ball boy for the Baltimore Colts, and grows up surrounded by superstar athletes. His best friend on the team, Joe ends up staying in touch with the boy as he grows up and moves on into his own life. They reunite and end up becoming part of one of the most influential football progams on the planet. Read the book to find out more details. I recommend this book for anybody who likes a good story about good people
1 review
December 3, 2018
“Season of Life”, by Jeffrey Marx, includes football, but it is definitely not about football. This book explains how football coach, Joe Ehrmann, showed his players what true masculinity was. He said it isn’t about being strong or tough, it’s about caring for others around you and making sacrifices for them. The players responded each and every day by becoming true men, men who love everyone around them no matter what. The author of the book followed this team around for a whole season and learned more than he could have ever imagined. By the end, he had overcome a fear or an obstacle that kept him from having the best relationship with his dad. After hearing what the coach said all season long, the author and his dad became more comfortable talking about anything. This book changed my mindset on life and on my relationships in life.
6 reviews
June 23, 2022
In today’s age of crazy youth sports, we often lose sight and forget the valuable life lessons stemming from team competition; Sacrifice, Camaraderie, Selflessness, Humility. Marx does a great job of incorporating these principles into his story involving the perennial powerhouse of Baltimore MD, the Gillman Greyhounds.

Joe Ehrmann’s journey from macho-man NFL star to minister and high-school football coach is uplifting and captivating. Joe teaches his players how to strive and accomplish the true definition of becoming a man.
29 reviews2 followers
March 18, 2023
What a great book, about life! I found myself taking notes as I want to live my life with even greater purpose. One line from the book stood out so much I sent it to a couple friends. "The typical male over the age of 35 has what psychologists would say is less than one genuine friend, not even one person, on average, with whom he can reveal his true self and share his deepest, most intimate thoughts." Wow....I'm still deep in thought over that statement. This book should be required reading for anyone looking to better themselves. Truly impactful.
Profile Image for Parker Dalton.
107 reviews1 follower
February 25, 2019
Favorite line in the book:

Fan: “Coach, how good is the team going to be?”
Coach: “I don’t know know; we will find out in 20 years.” (To find out what kind of husbands, fathers, and being a man built for others they turn out to be)

The book addresses false masculinity and how it drives us toward personal achievement, selfish comparison, and away from relationships throughout our lives. A great story of how coaching high school football can be a way to really build boys into true men.
March 9, 2019
Well worth the read

I found this book very helpful in the sense that as a coach, I need to intentionally make an effort to foster positive relationships with players. Players must know that you care and they must care about each other. This book goes against a lot of people's opinions of what the mold of a football coach should be but opens your eyes to a whole other side of coaching that should be incorporated everywhere. 10/10
Profile Image for Gayle.
299 reviews
June 12, 2019
While the football play descriptions went right over my head and heart, the content of this book is golden. The philosophies contained within about raising and discipling young boys to be men is strengthened by the examples given of the football team coached and how the author witnessed those philosophies being integrated into their lives. His account of the changes he sought with his own father after the time spent soaking up these ideas is heartwarming. Highly recommended.
2 reviews
November 5, 2019
Season of Life by Jeffrey Marx is a book that shows how playing a sport of violence can be a positive thing. Jeff is lead to love and respect his teammates, family and friends through the game of football. He also is lead to loving everything through his all time favorite Baltimore Colts player, Joe Ehrmann. Joe devotes life after playing in the NFL to helping younger people grow and learn to love what they do through football.
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