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on February 8, 2017
Jeffrey Marx is a Pulitzer Prize winning author (for investigative reporting, not for this book), who takes on the question of what it means to be a man in our society. He does this by following former Baltimore Colt defensive tackle Joe Ehrmann for a year while Ehrmann helped coach a Maryland high school football team. This team has two goals each season – to win the league championship and to beat their rival high school. But their methods, well, that’s the point of the book. The book focuses on the coaches’ goal of Building Men for Others and on the mantra that everyone on the team memorizes: What is the coach’s job? To love the players. What is the player’s job? To love each other. This is not football as most fans see it, but what does it do to the kids on the team?

As Marx tells the story, it builds character, it builds strong and positive relationships, it heals pain, and it Builds Men for Others. In a time when gender roles are changing radically, Marx presents an image of masculinity that is neither traditional (one might think of “a man’s man”) nor revisionist. Instead, it present an image of both strength and vulnerability, an image of individual character and of team character. Although Marx began this quest as a detached investigator and as an author, he closes the book by describing neither what happened to Ehrmann nor what happened to the players on the team; he closes the book by describing how the experience affected himself.

The book is very well written and it is easy to read (as one might expect from a Pulitzer Prize winning author). It takes about 2-3 hours to read. It is a good book for anybody interested in exploring what it means to be a man in our society, for example, a sports coach or a new father of a young son.
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on January 15, 2014
This year, I am looking forward to my upcoming (lacrosse) season like I never have. This book changes everything for me. I believe I always wondered whether boys could be coached this way, and Joe Ehrmann shows us that they can. He cares for them, and they care for each other... and the irony is that he also got great results. But that was not the point for Joe. Training up these boys to be real men...that was his goal. His measuring stick reaches out 20 years to determine if he was successful.

The book is so well written and compelling that I finished it quickly. I wanted the story to continue.

I have already purchased over 10 copies of this book to give away to other coaches and their responses have been so positive...one joined my coaching staff simply because he wanted to be a part of something this big.

Afterwards: I just completed my first season coaching under the premises of this book. I have to admit that I was frightened to consider whether this would work or not. WE HAD THE MOST SPECTACULAR SEASON! Being a new team, with many players who have never played lacrosse before, our odds of winning games was very low. We won only one game this year...our first win since the team started. However, you would have never known that from the responses from kids (and their parents). I have never received so much positive notes and emails from parents about how much their sons loved our coaching. Our team is getting better and better, and I enjoyed coaching on a level that I have never experienced before. I give the credit to Joe Ehrmann and this book...
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on September 9, 2005
Jeffrey Marx began to contact "old" Baltimore Colts' players after "saying" goodbye to fabled Memorial Stadium just before its demolition in 2001. One of those players was Joe Ehrmann, the All-Pro leader of the Colts' "Sack Pack" in the 70's. Ehrmann had nicknamed him, Brillo, when Marx was a Colts' ballboy. At that time, Ehrmann was an example of a the stereo-typical fun-loving, hard partying and substance abusing athlete that "graces" the news from time to time. When Marx traced down this former Colt, he found that much had changed. After thirteen years of professional football, Ehrmann's "calling" had finally found him. He had since founded and led a wholistic ministry in Baltimore's inner city for 20 years and was volunteering as a coach at Baltimore's Gilman School. He had founded "Building Men for Others" and was also serving on the staff of a Baltimore area church. As Marx traces Joe's journey and the journey of the Gilman School's 2001 season, he is drawn into his own "journey to manhood." His "side-by-side" story-telling draws in the reader as well. A very good read and must reading for every father, for every father's son and for every woman who wants to better relate to the men in her life.
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VINE VOICEon May 1, 2008
I had heard that this was an amazing book from so many people and I was definitely not disappointed - what a great story of what God can do through the life of one man wholly sold out to His glory! Marx is a journalist who grew up as the ball boy for the Baltimore Colts. One larger-than-life figure on that team of the 70s and 80s was Joe Ehrmann whose life took a radical turn when his younger brother passed away from cancer. After years had passed, Marx once again reunited with Ehrmann and was struck by what he found - the flamboyant football star was now a coach and mentor to young men using the game of football to teach about the necessities of life. Ehrmann's life was now invested in the lives of others teaching these young boys how to be men - Building Men for Others is the name of his program, but it's much more than a program or a set of principles, it's a way of life, a way to see others, a way to live that completely transforms others around you. The book was a great read and should be near the top of "must reads" for every father and coach.
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on August 31, 2009
Season of Life is a quick and fulfilling read at not quite 180 pages. The author spends the 2001 football season with a private high school football team that is coached by his boyhood hero Joe Ehrmann, a former NFL defensive lineman turned ordained minister. The story weaves in and out of the season's football schedule, Joe's philosophy of "building men for others" (helping boys to value and nurture relationships) and the author's own ruminations about his relationship with his dad.
You come to care about the boys and their season and to admire the messages of Coach Joe and his protege, Coach Biff who gets a little more "playing time" in the book that his mentor and "big brother" Coach Joe. There are a few basic lessons readers will get from Season of Life, most notably that a foundation of empathic relationships is key to becoming a man built for others. There are a few bible sermons along the way and an illustration of how Coach Joe's lessons are applied by the author himself. Overall I enjoyed this book and I recommend it. It is refreshing to read a book that that is not preachy but teaches basic human values about the importance of treating others with respect and dignity, and all this in an interesting context that I could relate to as a former high school and college football player. Parents, teens, educators, coaches...go for it!
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It is difficult to pick up a newspaper or watch TV news without seeing some story about a young man in serious trouble with the law. It seems that too many of our male youth are growing up without good role models. There is a direct connection between the way a young man is raised, the values instilled in his youth and the type of life he leads as an adult.

Season of Life, written by Jeffrey Marx, is the story of Joe Ehrmann, a former NFL star with the then Baltimore Colts and his journey from football to an outstanding mentor for young men. Mr. Ehrmann's life was profoundly changed when his younger brother died at an early age from a rare form of cancer. His brother's death caused Mr. Ehrmann to totally rethink what was important in life.

Joe became an ordained minister. He has devoted his life to helping young men get a better chance in life by providing a different style of coaching at the high school level. Most coaches focus on the Xs and the Os of the game, and the won loss record. Joe focuses on teaching the young boys to become the kind of men that will lead a highly productive life as an adult. As of the writing of this book, we was coaching a high school football team. He was also very active in coaching other coaches in his approach.

According to Mr. Ehrmann, there are three major myths that most boys are taught about becoming a man. The first is that athletic ability is the initial step. The second is that sexual conquest is a big part of the process and the final myth concerns financial success. Relationships and love are downplayed. Men are taught to be stoic, to hide or suppress their emotions.

Mr. Ehrmann teaches his players that the won loss record is not what matters most. What matters most is learning to be a man. Developing 360 integrity - that is integrity all round at all times.

Even for those boys who have a good father role model, there are often emotional issues that need addressing. Most men teach their sons to be strong - they were taught not to be emotionally sensitive and that is the way they raise their sons. Too often the father is hiding behind a facade and is afraid to open up emotionally to their sons. As a result, many sons never really know their father.

This book is short and easy to read. It is well written and filled with lots of emotional moments. You will come away with a different perspective on what it means to be a man. You will also have a better understanding of why the normal focus of raising boys has been wrong. You will see the connection between the way boys are raised and how they turn out.

There is a large segment of our male youth who do not have good father role models. As a society we are paying a very high price in terms of social problems for these young men. This is a great way to improve the problem with a minimum cost.
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on July 8, 2013
I have only read into the 4th chapter and I was crying. It is a very touching story. The reason I got it and I could not find it anywhere in our county Library's, because I actually wanted two of them; one for me and one for my 14 yr old, so we could read it together, the library had to send out for it and I could only have it for 3 wks. To make a long story short, I stopped reading for now because in the fall when he starts football; it is his coach who suggest we get it because come fall the 9th gr. football team will and has been reading this book as a team for I believe the past few yrs. Not only as a team but the families get involved and begin to read it as a family. So, I just got a start on it, and I think it is a very inspirational, compassionate, touching story. I also believe it is a humble and thoughtful thing for a coach to come up with such a Title (and being it is non-fiction) and make it not an option but a requirement if you are gonna be part of his team to take part in reading this book. My son has also started reading it. Something he is not all that into. Although, at one time he used to like Language Arts. Another requirement to be on the team is to give back to the community and every player has to put 10 hrs of Community Service into the community. Which I think is also GREAT. This is only his second yr playing football, so I am a little new to this, so I don't know if every Highschool sports teams do things like this or not but I give 2 THUMBS up & *TWO HIGH FIVES* to an AWESOME COACH, who just came started at WHITE BEAR LAKE, Mn just a yr or 2 ago, My son grew up knowing who his father was, and seeing him here and there, but never treated him as if he were related to him, sad but true, and everyday I know that has always been a struggle and hurt inside him.... I am hoping finally, he can see some light and find some inspiration in something he loves which is FOOTBALL and maybe with coaches like this one, he will THRIVE.!!!!!!!! I look forward to the next year and reading the "SEASONS of LIFE" with my although, I tell him everyday, how much he is LOVED, I know he still feels ALONE, and I must say one thing, he is a WONDERFUL child, and he & his brother are both my INSPIRATIONS <3... I LUV U, DALLAS and KOLTON.. and Thank You, Coach Ryan Bartlett, Look forward to 2013-2014 Football Season my Journey in watching Dallas grow into a young man. Way to Go
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on October 13, 2016
My son attended Gilman School during the period this book was written about and although he did not play football, he was deeply immersed in the Building Men concept which has made him a man built for helping others indeed. I was transfixed by the way the author took me through the journey of his self discovery.
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on March 12, 2013
This book tells a page-turning story about the author and the Colts teams of his youth. He reunites with Colts Hall of Famer Joe Ehrmann, who tells of his ministry focusing on changing the male stereotypes that are pushing inner-city males down the wrong path. Joe is an assistant High School football coach. They play each kid in the first half while the game is on the line, and they do not have try-outs or cut players from the team; AND they have been nationally ranked. Reading this book changed the way I look at the kids I coach. Rather than fitting them into the "basketball player" mold I envision, I now try to pull from their strengths and let them see how they are valuable to the team. Rather than winning today's game, I am focused on developing winners in life. Great book!
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on September 23, 2013
I had the privilege of hearing Erdman speak at a UMC church in Houston, and I brought my copy of the book with me so Marks could sign it. The message in this book, if accepted and acted upon, would probably profoundly change the character of our nation's struggling youth, school boards (many have lost sight of their "customers", the students,) and administrations (too many of which are afraid to discipline and seem to think more rules and reports are the answer.) The story is a true one, the book is well written, and it isn't afraid too give credit where credit is due, namely the power of love, commitment, discipline, and faith in a higher power (in this case God and His only son, Jesus Christ.) If you are not a believer and still think you can get the job done some other way , do not waste your time with this book. Your pride, arrogance, and self-centered mess still control you, and the current state of our schools in America today is the result.
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