Welcome to Bluefield at 100! Bluefield College is celebrating 100 years and has undergone a name change! Each week, in honor of this milestone, The Confusing Middle will shine the spotlight on an individual who spent time at Bluefield University, giving them a chance to fill us all in on where they are and how they’ve been doing since the college years. I hope you’ll join us back here every week as we get reacquainted with some old friends!
This week we’re hearing from Spencer Wood!
- What have you been up to since your time in Bluefield?
I pursued a career in psychology (mostly working with populations in the field of sport and exercise) and started a company called Icebox Athlete.
- Where are you living now? For how long?
I am currently based out of Georgia (now in my 10th year of residency in Georgia).
- Did you pursue any education after college? If so, what degrees have you obtained?
Yes, two Masters Degrees (one in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and the other in Exercise Science), and a Doctorate in Psychology.
- Where did you earn your first “grown-up” paycheck?
Technically, before I left Bluefield… After graduating I worked for the Continuing Education Department at Bluefield U (for adult degree completion students) for almost 2 years, before getting married and moving to New Jersey.
- Who is your current employer and what is your job title?
President/Founder Icebox Athlete LLC
I am also the sport psychologist for the Detroit Tigers in Major League Baseball, and for a number of teams at the University of Florida.
- What are your hobbies? What do you end up doing in your spare time?
I enjoy reading, watching historical documentaries and period dramas, and I pretend that I am still young by running the occasional marathon and I also completed my first IRONMAN triathlon this year.
- Have you done much traveling? Where have you visited?
Oh my… Well my work has taken me to almost every state in the Union (I think I have visited 46-47 of the 50), and over 50 countries… too many to mention all of them, but some of the standout cities and countries include, Cairo (Egypt), Paris (France), Venice (Italy), Rome (Italy), multiple cities in Austria and Belgium, and some beautiful and romantic places in central and south America.
- Are you married? If so, who is your spouse?
Yes, still married to the wonderful Lysha Wood (21 years this year!).
- How did you and your spouse meet?
We met at a growth and praise (Christian) devotional event in Bluefield.
- Do you have children? What are their names/ages?
Two wonderful children, my eldest is 11 (a daughter), and my youngest is 10 (a son).
- Tell us a funny story about your kids…
By the time my kids started school, they still had a blend of accents (I am English and my wife is American)… they would start a sentence with a strong English accent and finish the phrase with an American accent. Initially the teachers wanted to utilize some of the county speech therapy resources to correct what they thought were some developmental speech challenges that my kids were facing. After the teachers met with my wife and myself, they understood the humor in initially attempting to pathologize these speech patterns and these communication ‘deficits.’
- What was your favorite class at Bluefield?
Too many to mention!
- Which teachers influenced your life and made a lasting impression? Why?
Again, it sounds like the easy answer, but too many too mention! I can tell you that before I was a Christian, I found Scott Bryan to be a patient, kind, and an impactful witness for the Gospel. He is a World Changer. But really singling out just one or two teachers does not do justice to the overall Bluefield College (excuse me, Bluefield UNIVERSITY) experience!
- What did you want to be when you “grew up?”
A sport psychologist
- What was your funniest moment in college?
Performing the Spice Girls song in full costume with 3 other international students on Karaoke/Talent night as a Senior at Bluefield College. Michael Swann, David Welsh, and Andre Tulip were my fellow bandmembers and coconspirators… I thought I would share their names so they could share in the embarrassment one more time lol!
- What was your most embarrassing moment?
See answer to #17 below (my most embarrassing and dumbest thing at Bluefield are one and the same lol!).
- What was the dumbest thing you did in college? Was it worth it?
Wow… can’t believe I am admitting to this in print, but here you go… (and by the way, I am blaming the strong pain medication I was on at the time lol!). So… at the start of my sophomore year I got injured (I played sports at Bluefield College) and had to have knee surgery, which led to 3 months of crutches and pain medication… which was obviously no fun. Well, I was talking to this girl on the phone one evening (a few weeks after knee surgery) that year (and this was a girl I really liked… and yes, she will remain nameless), and she dared me to meet her outside Rish Hall that very evening in the freezing cold/ice (it was the dead of winter). She knew I was not likely to go to meet her because there was freezing ice outside, it was the middle of night, and I could only hobble around on crutches. Well as I said, I really liked this girl, so I hobbled through the ice, snow, and dark on my crutches to meet her outside Rish. It must have taken me 20 minutes to get there from New Hall, which as anyone on campus will tell you, is positioned just below Rish Hall. Also, on a side note, that metal staircase connecting New Hall and Rish Hall, with ice on that metal staircase was a near death experience walking up and down it – without crutches – let alone with crutches. Well, this girl could not believe I actually got there somehow to meet her and said she would give me a kiss as a reward. I had never dated this girl before, but I wasn’t about to turn down the kiss! However, I was NOT about to have the kiss I had dreamed about outside in the ice and snow and on crutches, and we obviously could not go into Rish hall with the visitation restrictions, so what was an in-love boy on crutches in the snow and ice at night to do? I foolishly tried the entrance door below Rish (which used to be the original Art department and classrooms) and to my amazement, it was still unlocked. So, in we go, and with one crutch around one arm and one arm around this girl, I grab an awkward unbalanced kiss which was interrupted mid-kiss by the flash light of a security guard. “What are you two doing here” he bellowed. Oh boy… I wanted to say “what does it look like dude?… I am grabbing a first kiss from a girl I have fallen for and I am doing the best I can on crutches, and here you are ruining the moment”… but I didn’t say any of that of course lol… I just apologized and quietly left and I headed back to New Hall and the girl (who was just as embarrassed as I was) went back to the top of Rish Hall. Well that was my first and last kiss with this young lady (sniff, sniff lol). Well… was it worth the embarrassment? Heck yes lol!
- What is your most vivid memory from Bluefield College?
The basketball team I played on went to the National tournament after winning our conference for the first time in the history of Bluefield College in 1996. That was pretty special. Some other fond memories are connected to my participation in Residence Life and Student Government.
- What was your go-to during Late Night in the Shott Hall dining room?
Lucky charms cereal :o)
- Did you play any sports?
Basketball (scholarship) and Soccer (walk on). I think on one or two occasions I may have gotten lucky and made positive contributions to the basketball team in one or two games, but I am convinced I made our soccer team worse lol! However, on both teams I had some amazing and talented teammates. And on both teams, I was blessed with some coaches who were also wonderful people.
- Were you involved in any other extracurriculars (theater, yearbook, clubs, etc.)?
Student Government and Residence Life
- What on-campus events did you enjoy participating in or attending?
GAP (growth and praise)
- Did you jump into the mud pit on Mud Pig Day?
Heck no!… I saw the state of those who were stumbling out of that mud pit with muddy water coming out of their eyes, ears, and nose, and thought ‘that is NOT for me! lol’
- Which dorm did you live in? Or did you commute?
During my time at Bluefield College, they rotated dorms every 1-2 years so I had experiencing living in Rish, Cruise, and New Hall.
- Which classmate influenced you the most?
I will use the term ‘treasured friendships’ more than ‘influenced the most’… and I have a number of treasured friendships from college that are close friends to this day.
- What personal experiences since college would you like to share?
I would think that almost everyone answering this survey (who is currently a parent) will tell you the same thing; that few experiences can compare with the joys of becoming a parent and watching your kids develop and grow.
- What plans do you have for the next 10 years?
Continue my work in Major League Baseball and the NBA. I have also had the honor of working with some national teams in the Olympics and I think I would like to do some additional work around the Olympic games – which is incredibly fulfilling.
Also, Bluefield University is about to launch a Coaches Certification program that I have written, that is connected to Mental Toughness and Peak Performance Mental Skills for Athletes, and I am of course incredibly proud of this association with my alma mater.
- Give us a quote to live by…
Wise men still seek Him.
I want to thank Spencer for taking time to answer all these questions and for sharing with us this week! Come back next week when another Bluefield survivor takes the hot seat!
And if you spent time at Bluefield College and want to participate, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you the full list of questions! Until next time, GO RAMS!