You do not have to be a fan of—or knowledgeable about—sports or football to appreciate or enjoy this book. Emlen’s extraordinary story of following his dreams and what he felt was right, to better himself and others, is very relatable. Readers of all ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, and beliefs will admire and be edified by this story of an eminently likable man of little means who went on to transform the world of sports—and beyond. Emlen was charismatic and loved life and people as much as he loved sports. His adventures are entertaining, inspiring, and enriching.
I hope the story of Emlen’s life inspires you—as it has inspired me—to be more passionate, present, and empathic. I hope it causes you to be a little more courageous, to open your heart and mind even more than they already are. Not just to those you’re already familiar and comfortable with, but to someone you usually would not. As Em might say, “You never know, you might discover a new treasured friend along the way.”
This picture shows Emlen with some of his friends from Garrett Hill enjoying the nightlife in Harlem in the 1950s.