It is not an easy decision to decide to join the military following high school graduation. There is the fear of the unknown and the anxiousness that builds the closer and closer that the date to ship out comes. The 2020 Big Spring Steers baseball team now has two players that are ready to join different branches of the military later this summer.
Joshua Wood has known for a while that he would like to have a career as a police officer when he grows up. Last fall, recruiters from all branches of the military visited Big Spring High School and caused Wood’s future plans to take a small misdirection.
“I’ve always wanted to be a cop of some sort and they have something that’s called Security Forces in the Air Force,” Wood said. “It’s basically like being a cop and I felt like going into the Air Force was a better way for me to achieve my goal of being a cop.”
Wood played on the baseball team at Big Spring and describes himself as a lead-by-example type of teammate. While he may not be the most vocal member of the Steers, Wood had no problem trying to take the game into his hands to try to get his team the win.
There are several aspects of sports that Wood will be able to take with him into his training. Being part of a team is a huge part of both athletics and the military. The training for the Air Force will also be physically demanding which Wood will be ready for following his successful baseball career as a member of the Steers.
“This year I was much more of a leader than I was last year and I think that will really carry over well into the military and what I do,” Wood said.
Wood’s coaches and teammates know how much he has been through in his life and want nothing more than to see him succeed in the future. After an early-life where Wood had to overcome some obstacles and navigate his way through the world, he has built up a tough exterior and prepared himself for his future beyond his time in Big Spring.
“I think everyone is excited for him just because he’s never had the best dealt cards in life and he’s definitely faced some adversity at a young, young age,” Steers baseball coach Daniel Carrillo said. “One of the things that I love about him is that you would never know just by looking at him. You would never know what he’s had to deal with just because he’s always in a good mood and always smiling. It’s tough to find that when you’re dealt with the cards that he has dealt with.”
Wood was absolutely devastated when he heard the news that the Univesrity Interscholastic League (UIL) had cancelled the remainder of the 2020 spring sports season. This ruling meant that Wood would not be able to finish out his baseball career the way he had hoped. After playing the game for as long as he can remember, the years of blood, sweat, and tears put into his baseball mitt came to an abrupt end in the middle of his senior year season.
The infielder/catcher has been a part of the program during his entire four years at Big Spring High School and has seen the development and changes that have been made under the tutelage of Carrillo. Wood was a large part of the improvement of the Steers baseball program and the groundwork he helped build will continue at Steer Field for years to come.
“This group finally built that concrete foundation of this being the standard and the expectation,” Carrillo said. “We win baseball games and this is what we do now. They worked so hard and while they might not be the most talented, they showed up to play every day and they were all baseball rats. They loved the game for what it was and I’m just sorry that I couldn’t send them off the right way.”
Although the ending of his senior year was disappointing, Wood is not letting the current health crisis disrupt his plans for the future. Following his time in the Air Force, Wood will be looking to travel and find an area for him to start his post-military career as a police officer.
What is it about that job that interests Wood so much?
“I’ve always been into everything related to law enforcement and I really want to help people and I feel like the best way for me to help people is to go into law enforcement,” Wood said.
Wood will be leaving for the Air Force in early June and will be trading in his baseball clubhouse for bootcamp barracks. His favorite part of baseball ws being able to be close to the team and his teammates both on and off the field. Sports are known for building lifelong friendships just like the military is and Wood will not feel out of place. His life journey has brought him to this point but there will be more of Wood’s story to write.
“I’m excited for him. I think it’s a great opportunity and I know that he’ll succeed in the Air Force.”
Shawn Moran is the sportswriter at the Big Spring Herald. To contact him, e-mail email@example.com or call 432-263-7331.