With Season of Life, writer and former Baltimore Colts ball boy Jeffrey Marx has the rarest of publishing phenomena on his hands--an inspiring read that blossomed into a word-of-mouth best seller with no help from Oprah or Today. In Season, Marx recounts the life lessons he learned while spending a year with the football team at Baltimore's Gilman School, at which former Colts defensive lineman Joe Ehrmann is a volunteer coach. In between X's and O's, Ehrmann, 55, an ordained nondenominational minister, mentors his players on what Marx calls a "new definition of masculinity," one that emphasizes the importance of open relationships--Gilman players and coaches profess their love for each other at every practice--and service to others. After being rejected by several publishers Marx self-published the book last year, selling more than 14,000 copies out of his living room and launching an improbable literary sensation. Now published by Simon & Schuster, Season, which contains such wisdom as "If you're never revealing who and what you are, I think that keeps you in a state of brokenness," is Amazon's top-selling sports book. "There was no question that if we could reach people, this story would touch them," Marx says, "but I thought we'd have a flurry of attention, not a feeding frenzy."