To Dad, From Kelly is a poignant collection of love letters from first-time memoirist Kelly Lytle to his deceased father, College Football Hall of Famer Rob Lytle. It’s not every kid who can say his dad was a running back in the NFL and won a Super Bowl Championship ring with John Elway and the Denver Broncos but Kelly Lytle can. Rob Lytle was his son’s hero. But the author seems to make it clear from the start that his father was not his hero for his exploits on the playing field. “This book is my attempt to remember the father who shaped me through his unique blend of humor, kindness and self-deprecation,” he writes.
While his father was indeed active and a major part of his son’s life, Kelly also remembers him as the type who practiced a policy of tough love. Nowhere is this more evident in To Dad, From Kelly than in the piece titled “Please Make It Stop” where the author humorously reminisces about a high school leg injury that left him terrified that he’d never play again. He was 17 years old and Kelly explains how he recruited his dad to guide him through his physical therapy. His dad agreed but made his Kelly pledge to take his sessions in the weight room seriously. One morning Kelly came home drunk and had a hangover. He wanted to just sleep. Dad though had other plans.
“In my house, if you made a commitment – especially to something sports related, you stuck to it no matter what,” his father is quoted as saying.
His dad made sure to keep Kelly to his word. Not only did he make his son did the right thing and stick to the workout plan, dad made sure to give him an intensified workout to teach him that he should not have been partying that night. The scene is quite funny as Kelly practically falls flat on his face, but we also see how serious the father was about his son not shirking his responsibilities.
Every story in To Dad, From Kelly shows Rob Lytle as responsible and loving and funny and tough. We can quickly see how much he meant to his son and family. Read this book whether you are a football fan or not. To Dad, From Kelly is an easy read, warm and touching and I’m sure any parent would want their kids to remember them with such fondness, and admiration.