We’ll Always Be Pals is normally not the type of book I would have grabbed in the book store quite honestly. I am passionate about reading and like to learn and/or be moved emotionally. In some way I may have viewed it as a guy’s guy/ football story book, I don’t know, but I am so glad I read it!
I’m not sure what I expected, but started reading and was emotionally drawn in after the first few chapters and stayed there. I found it emotional, inspiring, and honest. I could literally feel your emotions as you described them. Reading about your dad’s experience in WWII was fascinating. The personal stories, like that of your father, are what make the history of our country. It’s the type of men that fought for us, not just the battles won – I could feel the pride in your words.
I could go on for a while, but your experience losing your father touched me deeply, I cried and cried. I felt every exact emotion as you described it and felt it all over again. The gratitude in having been blessed with a man like that as your father, the devastation and sadness upon losing him, and the faith and understanding that he is still with you as my dad is with me, and the belief that we will see them again. I know the warmth you felt after the grief had time to settle.
Your personal story as an NFL player, wow, I had no idea that happens to some of you. I felt excited and happy, nervous and disappointed for you along the way, but as strange as it sounds, I felt proud of you. I felt as if we were sitting at a bar and you were honestly sharing your “best and worst of times” with a friend. It was casually told, but intimate. It was heart wrenching at times, but heart warming. The book is a beautiful tribute to an amazing man and father, and an unexpected invitation into the heart and soul of a professional athlete. I sincerely loved every minute of it.
I finished the book last night. I can’t remember ever reading a book that quickly, that’s for sure. I’m still really absorbing so much of it…hard work, a dream realized, the uniqueness of your relationship with
your Dad, his wisdom, the family tightness, the glimpses into your thoughts
before games, the things that drove you to excel.
It was a great read, a great book, and has everything in it. Your father was a true champion and a great man. I am looking forward to getting this to my Dad and many others.
I found myself inspired to be a better man and most importantly to be the best father I can be. I want to thank you for sharing and inspiring me to reach a little deeper, to never give up and to fully realize how good I have had it for so long.
Thomas Finnegan (Chicago, IL)
My wife, Joyce and I want to thank you for taking the time last Friday to sign your 3 books for us and our family.
I just finished reading it and will encourage everyone I know to do the same!
Your story affected me more than I could have imagined; regrets for not having such a relationship with my dad and hope that I may yet enjoy that special bond with my 2 sons.
Lew Cubley (Green Cove Springs)
I have just finished reading your book, We’ll Always Be Pals. I enjoyed it very much. You did a great job expressing what a terrific man your Dad, Geno was. You also did a great job impressing the reader with the enormity of his impact on your life.
People can’t imagine what it must have been like for a guy in his early 20′s to pilot a B-24 into combat, so that alone made him a stud. Your personal story is an inspirational one, as well. Personally, I believe you were more of an elite athlete than you were willing to admit. But, as with any accomplished athlete, skill must be supported by hard work, and a lot of it. You brought that out in relating your preparation for your opportunity to become a member of the Jaguars.
I have been a season ticket holder from day one, and I’ll never give that up. I was there in the stands, along with at least 40,000 others, that night when you guys returned from your classic win over the Broncos. None of us fans expected the team to be that competitive that soon. For me, no matter what happens with the Jags in the future, those will be the “glory days” of the Jaguars.
So, thank you for your book. Every young man, or young woman for that matter, should read it. It is an important statement about the bond that exists between a father and his children.
William Short, M.D.
I’m blaming you for the puffiness of my eyes this morning! I started reading your book yesterday. I couldn’t put it down until I finished it somewhere near midnight last night. What an AWESOME and incredible book! I laughed and I cried as I just lost my mom to cancer 2 years ago.
You did such a great job of detailing your dad’s character and weaving it into the fabric of who you are. I especially love the ‘full-circle’ effect by including the chapter on meeting Kristina as it exemplified one more lasting impression your dad left you with…how to treat a lady. I’m sure Geno is proud of your choice! Thanks for sharing such an awesome legacy with the rest of us.
Tom I hope you take the time to read this. I am 47 and I bought one of your books for a friend of mine for Christmas and was a little angry that I had not gotten one for myself. You see I too have 3 girls. My dad also was in the Korean War and I served too, so we are proud Americans. Well, as fate would have it, my brother in law Paul Barton bought me a copy and had you sign it. Now, mind you, I read, but just the sports page and Sports Illustrated every week but I had not read a book in years. I could not put your book down. I finished it in 3 days. Geno is a badass American and I thank you for his life story. What a Man!!! I and many other people can see some of themselves in Geno. Coaching fast pitch softball I have said many times that the other team is the enemy, step on their throats and finish them off. Also to respect them and after the game shake your opponents hands. I could go on and on but this e-mail is to long as is. Tom I would be proud to share a beer with you anytime, I hear your one hell of a bartender.
Bruce W. Sanneman Tom,
What a great story. As I was reading the story, I shared your tears and laughter. As Geno was quoted throughout the book, I could hear his voice in the back of my mind. I could actually picture him standing in your old house with his massive forearms. Thanks for sharing your relationship with us. Sharing your special relationship with your dad will help the rest of us dads strive to be close to our children in the same way. After reading your story I have made an extra effort to spend more time with my Dad and to really talk with him. People need to read this book!
I want to thank you so much for sharing your father, Geno, with me and everyone who reads your book. I really wish I would have known him, and, thanks to you, I feel like I sort of do. What an incredible man, father, and an incredible American hero. Thank God he survived the unspeakable horrors of WWII. You told his story so well; I will never forget your father’s sacrifices. It is really hard to imagine the life and hardships of that generation, isn’t it?
I don’t know much about the game of football, Tommy, but I like the game and my husband, Bobby, teaches me stuff occasionally. Thanks for sharing your incredible journey from St. Mary’s to the NFL with us; it was so cool!!!! You really worked hard and I am so glad Geno got to see you play for Jacksonville. I really enjoyed the whole book. I was reading the part when Geno died on this New Year’s Eve! I thought about you and your family and how hard that day must be. God bless you all!!
Tom, Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read your book. It was an amazing life that Geno had. I only knew him for a short time but what an impact he had on me. The details that I read were fantastic and unreal. The things that your father and men of that generation went through were quite incredible. You did an amazing job of putting his life and your relationship into words. I know Geno is looking down on you and is very proud of your work. Great Job Tom.
Your Buddy, Pete Mitchell
Former Jaguar teammate and 9 year NFL veteran
We’ll Always Be Pals accomplishes a task that is all too scarce in our society today. Tom McManus’s father ‘Geno’ is a rare example of a hero and a mentor wrapped in one package, something we all need. Crying one minute, laughing the next; McManus inspires us all to do more and to do it with excellence.
Fantastic… Read it twice, and passed it on. It brought me to tears, because I never knew the Love Of a Mom, and Father. I grew up in orphanages where beatings were the order of the day. I just adopted your family as mine for a few hours of reading, and it gave me great Peace, and Satisfaction.
May God continue to Bless you with that Giant heart that you have, that holds That Giant Love you have for family. I pray that Christmas brings all of The Clan together named McManus. You are gifted Tommy, and your book is not just a story. It is something that a person dives into, and becomes a part of for awhile.
When you read about The Love You had for Your Pops, and Your Mom, and the rest of the family, it truly inspired me.
I just finished your book. MAN!!!! That was an incredible story. I wanted to tell you that you did a great job. That was an awesome tribute to your dad, Geno. Your book brought tears to my eyes, laughter to my soul and a sense of pride to be a better man. For what it’s worth I wanted you to know that I look up to you. You are a leader of your family and also the entire city of Jacksonville. Please let me know if I can ever do anything for you.
Det. G.A. Terrell
I just wanted you to know that I finished reading your book this weekend. It was incredible, I didn’t want to put it down.
My father was my best friend also. He had a heart attack when he was 53 and I was 30. My parents were divorced when I was younger and he raised my brother and I. Whenever I needed advice (sometimes unsolicited) he was there for me. The day he died someone told me that the hardest day in a man’s life was the day his dad died, because that was the day he had to become a man.
My son Riley was only 6 months old when he passed and it has always bothered me that he did not get to know his grandfather.
Thank you so much for letting me read your book and thank you for sharing your story. It was inspirational and very moving.
I have recently received my copy of your book and I can’t put it down. I think it’s outstanding.
Early on it has me thinking a lot about my parents and grandparents. They too were depression era families who faced many challenges in providing income and raising their children. Thanks for allowing me to go back to the days of my youth for those great thoughts and memories.
The part about building the dams is awesome. Nobody ever attempted to intimidate us as kids either because they knew our Dad would ring em’ up. No questions asked. He was a good hearted man who would give you the shirt off his back, but do not mess with his family!
Somebody asked me that if I could have anything in the world, what would it be? That’s easy. One more chance to sit and talk to my Dad.
God, I miss him!
Thank you so much for writing “We’ll Always Be Pals”. My husband snatched my copy to thumb though it and at midnight he was still reading. This was a surprise because he usually only reads news and technical computer books. Once I read the book I knew I had to buy some for gifts, there is something for everyone in the story. The main story is obvious about a heroic man and great father, and you told it beautifully. The history of your father’s youth and war experience is something that I knew the history buffs and older generation in our family would enjoy. Once gifts were opened some of our “seniors” of Gene’s generation were inspired to share stories about their experiences we had not heard before. The story of your father’s encouragement and what a powerful influence he was on your life was touching. There are some great lessons for fathers and sons in Gene’s way of fathering. And your own story, the insight to just how hard a man has to work to play in the NFL makes you watch the game just a little differently. And of course for the romantics there was the love story of your parents and the precious was you told about you and Kristina. Again, something for everyone, told beautifully, sweetly and with open honesty. Your family can be very proud to have their story told in such a way everyone wants to be a McManus.
I bought your book and gave it to my husband, David for Christmas. David couldn’t put it down – every time we’d look at him, he’d be crying over what he was reading. Now David is getting our son, Miller to read it. David’s planning on writing to you, as well, to let you know how much he enjoyed the book. Tom, your dad was truly an American hero.