|By Kevin Devlin
Young student-athlete loves the game of baseball
When you walk into his bedroom, you automatically know that baseball is his first love. He has a collection of baseballs from Fenway and other baseball parks, autographed baseball cards, a baseball clock, and on one side of an entire wall in his room, a friend of the family, drew a tremendous colored picture of the Green Monster. And, it‘s not surprising to hear him say that someday he would like to be a professional baseball player.
In addition to baseball, he also enjoys playing basketball, hockey, and football.
But his sports adventures have serious competition from the field of education. Because even though he’s involved in many leagues throughout the year, education is a priority in his household that he can’t, won’t, and doesn’t want to ignore.
His name is John “Jake” Woods.
Jake, who celebrated his tenth birthday the day before this edition hit the streets, is also known as “Woody” to many of his friends. Now in the fourth grade, he is enrolled in the “Advanced Work Program” at the Richard Murphy School in Dorchester. Before heading over to Dorchester, Jake attended the Gate of Heaven Elementary School, was “Student of the Month” a couple of times, only missed several days of school during his stay there, and was on the Honor Roll most of the time.
Jake’s favorite athlete is Patriot’s running back Corey Dillon, he likes watching “The Simpsons”, and his favorite actor is Clint Eastwood. Jake loves the movie “Mystic River” for obvious reasons. He was in the final scene on the team float moving down the street.
Jake has played shortstop, first, and second base, for the past five seasons, playing in the T-ball, Instructional, Rookie, and now the Little League. He was also a member of the nine-year old Little League travel team that competed in the Stoughton Tournament last summer. He loved that ball park, the field, and the cool dugout.
Jake is middle linebacker and guard on the “D” team in the South Boston Pop Warner Football League. He played soccer in the local league for two seasons and now is involved in the Gatey house hoop league. He has also been skating in the South Boston Youth Hockey League ever since he left Arnie’s Army, and is now on the Squirt “A” team. His roller hockey team won the Mayor’s Roller Hockey Cup Championship at Garvey Park in Dorchester, defeating Charlestown in 2003, and Parkway in 2004.
Jake will always remember pitching three shutout innings in Stoughton last summer, his interception against Somerville, the two extra point conversions he made last season, and the seven tackles he recently made against powerhouse Dorchester in the Mud Bowl at Garvey Park. And, Jake will never forget meeting Ray Bourque and getting his autograph at the Neponset Rink in Dorchester last year.
In his leisure time, Jake likes to watch television, play video games such as “Call to Duty”, and SoCom.” He also likes to hang out with his friends and play wiffle ball outside his house on the street, or up at the outdoor roller hockey rink behind the Murphy Rink. Jake also likes to visit various baseball parks, and when he does go, he brings home a souvenir to remember his trip by, usually an autographed baseball. He has been to Yankee Stadium, Kaufman Stadium, and next year he intends to go to Camden Yards in Baltimore. Last month, his dad brought him to Fenway Park, and Jake had a chance to watch the game inside the 406 Club before the name was changed to EMC2.
Jack and Susan Woods are proud of their son’s accomplishments.
“Gatey really got him prepped to move on,” said Susan. “Education is a priority in our home. Being involved in sports is important too, but education comes first.”
“Jake is doing well in school and in sports,” added Jack. “He manages his time wisely and gives all that he can to both. He’s focused in class and plays tough on the field.”
Jake is a lucky, young man. He has three beautiful, younger sisters, triplets, I might add, as well as a caring mom and dad.
He is indeed fortunate, and with this support and love, he doesn’t have any excuse not to succeed in life.