A Son's Story of Life, Loss, and Love from the Sidelines of the NFL
Running Press Book Publishers, Hardcover, 9780762452484, 216pp.
Publication Date: April 2014
"Forgotten Sundays" is the coming-of-age story of a father-son relationship and the value of a good name, which Gerry Sandusky knows all too well. He has had to endure having an unfortunate name in sports, but to him the Sandusky name means something entirely different: honor, integrity, endurance, and suffering and sadness.
"Forgotten Sundays" follows the life and relationship between Gerry Sandusky and his father--former NFL tackle John Sandusky and coach for the Baltimore Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, and Miami Dolphins under the tutelage of legendary Coach Don Shula. Gerry spent his summers observing his father in NFL training camps and his Sundays with superstars, Hall of Fame players and coaches from Johnny Unitas to Dan Marino, from Don McCafferty to Tom Landry.
Gerry's relationship with his father evolved through stages of worship, disillusionment, vulnerability, tragedy, and friendship. Along the way he learned about the nature of manhood from observations, clues, and interactions--more often than not unspoken. It was when Gerry reached fatherhood himself and when John Sandusky began to tumble into the gauzy confusion of Alzheimer's disease that he began to understand his father on a much deeper level.
Heartfelt, intelligent, at times humorous, at times tragic, "Forgotten Sundays" explores the intricacies of a father-son relationship and the nuances of how and what a son learns from a father. It plumbs the meaning of a family name, and it is an inspiration to others to embrace their own legacy and cherish their memories.
“One needs a box of Kleenex, but not many hours to read this memoir of love, loss and triumph that flows like a Pulitzer Prize winning novel. Gerry Sandusky is a long term friend, but I did not know he was such a gifted writer. This book will make you appreciate your loved ones even more.”
—Ben Carson,Professor Emeritus of Neurosurgery, Oncology, Plastic Surgery and Pediatrics , Johns Hopkins Medicine Chairman.
"An excellent account of the emotional rollercoaster of the NFL and the impact this has on families"
—Larry Csonka, , NFL Hall of Fame Running Back
"Inside a sport so clearly measured by lines, scores, and time, Forgotten Sundays takes readers into a world not often explored in football, a world of relationships. This book delves between the games that define careers and explores the relationships that shape lives, transcend generations, and ultimately give strength and value to a name."
—Adam Schefter, ESPN
"John Sandusky was more than a coach—he was a role model who showed everyone around him how to balance professional and personal responsibilities. Even though he wasn’t my position coach, Coach Sandusky taught me a lot about the game of football and what it meant to be a player in the NFL. His dedication, work ethic and passion for the game rubbed off on anyone who was fortunate to be around him. And he was a friend who always emphasized the importance of family—what it meant to be a husband and a father. Those twin loves—football and family—are described in eloquent detail by his son, Gerry, in Forgotten Sundays, a loving portrait of a great coach and a great man.”
"A father gives you much more than a name. He gives you pride, honor and love. This is the story of how a son refused to let all that be taken from him, no matter the price."
—Rick Reilly, ESPN commentator and essayist
"My father meant the world to me and taught me so much about baseball and life. It was heart warming to read the story of Gerry and his Dad in this wonderful book."
—Brooks Robinson, Baseball Hall of Famer
"Gerry Sandusky has truly lived the football life. Forgotten Sundays is a poignant look at growing up in the NFL and what family meant to him.
—Fred Gaudelli, producer NBC Sunday Night Football
"This is a powerful story filled with emotion and insight about a father, a son, and football."
—NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
"A career in professional sports (or coaching if you want) represents ashared sacrifice for an entire family but that sacrifice can also bring families together. In Forgotten Sundays Gerry Sandusky perfectly encapsulates and describes that unique dynamic."
—Ross Tucker, Broadcaster and Host of the Ross Tucker Football Podcast
“If you've ever had a coach, a mentor, a teacher who helped you become something special, then you understand John Sandusky. He didn't seek the spotlight. He helped others shine. This book provides a unique insight how John played a key role in our success, but even more important it shows from a personal perspective how he was able to stand up to pain and loss without losing character or integrity. It paints a picture of a great coach and a great family man."
—Bob Griese, Former Miami Dolphins Quarterback, NFL Hall of Famer
"I was a player for the Miami Dolphins during the trials and tribulations described in the book. Well written with a lot of thought and love. You don't have to play football to feel the impact of this book. This will inspire you to think long and hard about the value of a name and how men communicate life's important lessons to each other--frequently without saying a word."
—Don Strock, Former Miami Dolphins Quarterback
"William Faulkner said, ‘The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man. It can be one of the pillars to help him endure and prevail.’ This book by Gerry Sandusky is a piece of poetry, a beautifully told story about what makes the game of football in modern America the essence of a man’s life – the twin pillars of faith and family."
—Sal Paolantonio, ESPN National Correspondent and author of How Football Explains America
"From early morning mass to late night meetings to listening to him sing Danny Boy—a story filled with priceless memories that bring to life the wonderful human being that was John Sandusky."
"Whether it's for the entertaining flashback to the NFL and how the game looked and felt to those of us who grew up watching it in the late '60s and '70's, or the heartwarming remembrance of the father-son relationship that is at the heart of Forgotten Sundays, Gerry Sandusky's touching memoir of family, football and life's passage of time is a gift of a book."
—Don Banks, Sports Illustrated NFL Senior Writer
"This is a moving story about a complex father and son relationship, but also so much more. Part sports history, part family drama it is chock full of characters ranging from Johnny Unitas and Joe Namath to Don Shula, from Big John Sandusky to Grandmom "Iron Lil." It is a narrative of loss and redemption both on and off the field, and one that you don't have to be a sports fan to thoroughly enjoy. Sandusky has captured perfectly the many ups and downs and life lessons learned while growing up in the shadow of a bigger than life character. Lessons and a character that the reader will not soon forget."
—Sean McManus, President of CBS Sports