Joe Ehrmannspeaks at GSHS football game
Many years ago, at an instructional clinic on the campus of the University of Colorado, retired Denver Nuggets coach Doug Moe told a gathering of high school basketball coaches that most people who went to see motivational speakers, “were already too far gone in life to help anyway. They’re no-hopers.”
Not so fast, Doug.
On homecoming Friday night at the Glenwood High School auditorium, former coach Joe Ehrmann blew Moe’s theory right out of the water.
Ehrmann has been a speaker, author, activist, and coach for more than 35 years. He played 13 seasons in the National Football League, and was once featured on the cover of Parade Magazine as “The Most Important Coach in America.” Ehrmann also authored the popular book, “InsideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives.”
Transforming lives is what Ehrmann has dedicated his adult life to.
“Winning is a by-product of developing the individual and the team into a community type of environment,” Ehrmann stated to a small gathering of area coaches, parents and interested community members. “We are not defined by our race, wealth, physical appearance, or where we live. We each need to come up with our own self-definition.”
A first round draft pick of the Baltimore Colts in 1972, Ehrmann spoke to his audience about the upbringing and struggles of youth that helped to forge the beliefs he held as a young man. While in college in the late 1960’s, Ehrmann found himself knee-deep in the turmoil that was America during that time period. The civil rights movement, Vietnam, and social inequality were motivational forces that steered Ehrmann into looking more closely at his own beliefs and those around him.
Ehrmann came to realize that winning should never be based solely by what is on the scoreboard.
“We need to reclaim sports in the name of education. The sport that a youth participates in should be viewed as the last classroom of the day. Sports programs at the high school level need to be led by caring adults, and they should be character- based,” Ehrmann noted.
During his hour-long talk, Ehrmann touched on the fact that sports has always been a metaphor for change in our society. One change he feels strongly about is the need for how we teach boys to define masculinity. Ehrmann has been chosen to talk with several NFL. teams on the topic of gender violence and how women are viewed by males in today’s changing world.
“We need to redefine the way our young males look at masculinity,” Ehrmann said. “This is a big part of coming up with your own self-definition rather than what society may expect of you.”
Ehrmann also spoke about how hard it is for many people to change their beliefs, some that have been ingrained since childhood.
“We all have two natures. One that you inherit at birth, and the second is the ego and the inner critic that is always telling you that you just don’t measure up. This comes from messages that we receive in our culture. We are always being judged, and we get wounded,” Ehrmann said.
Ehrmann’s remedy for this is to try and stay in the present, rather than worrying about the future or constantly reliving the past.
“We all need to have a cause in life that is much bigger than we are,” was Ehrmann’s closing message to his audience.
A brief question and answer session, in which coaches and others in attendance shared thoughts and life strategies with Ehrmann concluded the evening event at Glenwood High School.
Ehrmann will be back at GSHS today for a second coaches clinic/speaking engagement. The cost is $20 at the door.
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