They Call Me Goose: My Life in Kentucky Basketball and Beyond
I’d LOVE very much to tell you about a wonderful autobiography that I know you’ll enjoy as much as I did. I was actually saving the review for March Madness season to take advantage of the hype and excitement around UK Basketball but, with the way things are going.. well… let’s just say I decided there’s no time like the present. I’ll try not to get into that, but, as a lifelong UK basketball fanatic, I’m making no promises.
St. Louis Cardinals baseball has (among others) Bob Gibson, Stan Musical, and Ozzie Smith. The Yankees have (among others) Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Yogi Berra. The UK Wildcats have (among others) Jack “Goose” Givens, Jamal Mashburn, and Dan Issel. Players who fans didn’t just enjoy watching… but came to love and have never seen any reason to stop.
Like other athletes in this group, Jack Givens had a certain magic that went beyond his (obvious) talent and skill. There was something far more to him… a type of magic if you will. His love of the game, passion for winning, pride in his school colors, and determination to succeed on the court and off made him.. and make him.. stand out.
These traits also make those of us who watched Givens and so many other Wildcats in years past very nostalgic for the past. When team colors and the name on the front of the collegiate jersey (as meant as much or even more than a potential name on the NBA jersey. When Givens stepped onto the court, you knew he was going to give his all and then some. He would make his family, himself, his teammates, his coaches, and his fans proud. This attitude is what’s sorely needed in players today. Remember, I said I’d try not to get into that.. but no promises were made!
When Jack Givens sat down to write his wonderfully inspiring and fun story, he also gave his all and, again, he brought his own brand of magic.
I absolutely love this autobiography – the trip down memory lane with UK Basketball and with his career are wonderful. So many wonderful, exciting memories of when college basketball simply defied description. The stories Jack Givens tells (and tells beautifully, I might add) and the photos are an absolute joy. I don’t want to give anything away, so I won’t go into the stories or share the photos here. I had MUCH rather you buy the book and discover them for yourself.
They Call Me Goose from University Press of Kentucky
As much as I love every delicious word about his journey in basketball (and what a remarkable one it was!), you want to know what I enjoyed EVEN more? “Meeting” his beautiful, loving, and colorful family. I was halfway through chapter two when I realized there’s a reason Jack Givens is so extra special… he came from an extra special family and they wouldn’t have had it any other way!
I was especially touched by Jack’s mom, Betty Givens and his grandmother, Helen Smith. The fact that he was introduced to fishing by his grandmother (Helen Smith) made me fall in love with her instantly. As a “MiMi” to little boys, myself, I know how special those trips had to have been for both of them!
Betty Givens was, in my opinion, the very epitome of a GREAT lady. One passage that stands out to me seems to sum up beautifully how special this remarkable woman was:
“You didn’t want to disappoint my mom. She just held that kind of influence on me and on my siblings. She also devoted time to other kids in the neighborhood whose moms and dads were too busy or weren’t around.” Whether it was food, time, advice, attention, or love… Betty Givens seemed to give with a Christlike generosity and I promise I’ll never forget “meeting her.”
I also loved “meeting” his Uncle Jack who’s favorite saying was, “It’s better to be kind than to be right.” Quite frankly, meeting every member of his family (including his wife Linda and their children, and Jack Givens’ nine siblings!) was an honor and delight. The photographs are extraordinary – so many beautiful smiling faces, obviously filled with love and respect for one another.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. In addition to a remarkable and inspiring life story, it’s a delightful trip back in time to the glory days of UK Basketball.
You can find They Call Me Goose: My Life in Kentucky Basketball and Beyond (Amazon affiliate link) by Jack Givens with Doug Brunk on Amazon. Not only would it be IDEA for you, it would make an extraordinary Mother’s and/or Father’s Day gift idea.
They Call Me Goose by Jack Givens
They Call Me Goose: My Life in Kentucky Basketball was sent to me by The University Press of Kentucky in exchange for telling you all about it. It has been my honor to do so.