It’s How You Play the Game: Tim Kelly on His Dad

Brian Kilmeade’s book It’s How You Play the Game: The Powerful Sports Moments That Taught Lasting Values to America’s Finest (2007) is touted as a book of life lessons, featuring “more than ninety anecdotes and vignettes from men and women such as wrestler Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and gymnast Kerri Strug, historical figures Abraham Lincoln and General George Patton, grassroots greats Rudy Ruettiger of Notre Dame and Coach Ken Carter, and many more.”

We’ve learned that Gene’s son, Tim Kelly, contributes a small portion on his (highly competitive) father, reprinted below.



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  • Jennifer Welsh

    Fun little read. It seems to me Gene would have had a difficult time surviving as a hockey player. Even in his day, he was on the small side. I can believe that he was quick on skates and certainly he had the toughness, but tenacity will only get you so far when everyone else is a hulk in comparison. Plus, that fabulous face would have gotten all beat up (they didn't wear masks in those days)! The other thing that stands out, and surprised me, is the fact that Gene was friends with Mickey Mantle. From all I've heard, Mantle was generally a nice and generous guy, but a hayseed from Oklahoma. He was also a notorious womanizer and a hard drinker. One wonders what they had in common.

    • I didn't know about the friendship with Mickey Mantle either. I'm wondering if the word friendship is interpreted loosely? Then again, Gene liked his beer and hotdogs. =)

    • Charlotte Eyers

      Gene also loved baseball- didn’t he say he always wanted to play shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates?

  • It’s really nice to hear one of Gene’s children talk about their father. It’s quite rare, although very precious. I wish they would be more active in keeping Gene’s memory alive. So far, I’ve only seen Kerry Kelly talking about her father in “Gene Kelly – Anatomy of a Dancer,” and have read recently about her plans to participate in a special edition of Dance Film Series at the Detroit Opera House on February 9, 2012. I guess all of us would like more …

    • Yes, Kerry Kelly Novick is apparently speaking at the Detroit Opera House tomorrow night. We’ve someone who’s attending the event; hopefully, she’ll write up an account for us later on this week. Thanks for stopping by!

      • Great! I’m looking forward to it. Thank you!

  • Marny CA

    I can’t imagine having a father … so it’s nice to know a bit more about YOUR father.

    Hopefully, he was loving with you and gave you lots of hugs.

  • ELZ

    Ah. Lynn Swan was also my favorite football player when I was growing up. The guy had moves that were pure art, even to the eyes of the little kid that I was.