So I was looking through the blog and seeing who I may have forgotten to write about lately, and I realized that it’s been quite some time since I told y’all anything about my other baseball pupils, Cody and Noah. I guess I got caught up in writing about Lucas since he’s become more a buddy than a pupil and a lot’s been happening in his life lately, but he’s not the sum total of my tutoring activities.
Cody’s about as eager as a pupil can get, I reckon. He still waits on the steps outside Simone and Daphne’s house with his glove on waiting for me to drive up in the hatbox. The kid is every bit as crazy about baseball as he was when I met him last Thanksgiving…and, well, I’m the only baseball game in town for him these days. It sucks that he can’t play in a regular game – but that’s the fuckin new normal, and it affects little league as much as it affects the Dodgers. It affects little league even more, since at least los Doyers get to play.
Although Simone complains about what it’s doing to Cody’s clothes, he’s becoming a 9 year old master of the diving catch. It’s his favorite part of what we practice. He’s great at running for fly balls, too…and I’m getting the really good feeling that I’m making a first-rate fielder out of him, which is an improvement over what he was like when we began working together. He’s always had great aptitude for baseball, but, like a lot of kids who are naturally good hitters, Cody’s gotten away with neglecting the defensive side of his game.
We work on hitting too, mostly at Chuy’s, since Simone’s worried we may break a window if we start batting balls in the backyard. So me and Cody have one 60 minute session a week on Wednesday afternoons in the yard where we work on fielding and sprints and his swing, and one 90 minute session on Fridays that we split between those things and a trip to Alhambra. Chuy’s cages are adaptable to all ages, so there’s a setting on the machine that shoots balls at Cody’s height and speed. He loves the cage and, like I said, he’s a dang good hitter.
All in all, Cody’s coming along great…although the best way to judge his skills would be real games, and, well, y’all know… Sometimes he gets a little overexuberant and doesn’t pick up on things because he is only 9, and 90 minutes is a long time to concentrate for someone that age. I’m thinking of getting us a football and throwing that around with him some. It’ll give him a chance to burn off some steam.
What about Noah, the kid I thought was gonna be a problem with all his teenage attitude?
He’s not as bad as I thought he was gonna be. I suspected back when I got hired for the gig that his dad wanted Noah to make the team way more than Noah wanted to…and I was right about that. It’s not that Noah doesn’t give a shit or that he sucks…but it’s his dad who loves baseball, wants a jock in the family…and thinks that a spot on a varsity team would help Noah get into a competitive college. Yeah, Mr. Clarke is already talking about getting Noah into a fancyass college back East, even though Noah’s only in the 10th grade.
Of course it’s Noah and not Mr. Clarke who I work with…and I can’t help but get the feeling that he doesn’t trust me or something. I just can’t figure out why. Noah’s reasonably ok when we’re doing baseball activities, but when we’re in the car driving down to Alhambra, for example, he just puts on his headphones and shuts me out.
Joyce acts like it’s the simplest thing in the world. “Darling,” she said one night, “he looks at you and sees an adult.”
That doesn’t seem fair. I mean, I think I’m pretty cool…and I think Lucas and Cody think I’m cool too. It’s just that… This is where Joyce repeated: “he thinks you’re an adult, Hunter”, even when I protested that I’m the baseball tutor and not a regular kind of teacher like you get in school.
As far as his baseball goes, Noah’s an okay pupil and he’s slowly improving. I’m working with him on fielding, but he’s still pretty slow on his feet, so I’m reckoning his future is at 1st. Of course, there’s no telling how he’s gonna grow over the next couple years. One thing I was right about was when I thought Noah’s size might mean I had a slugger on my hands. Ok, he may be 14, but dang can he hit the ball hard. He misses a lot, but, when he connects, it can be pretty impressive. It would be cool if Chuy had the equipment for checking the exit velocity of a hard-hit ball, but that technology is still in the car wash’s future lol. I’m not saying that Noah’s hitting them at 95mph, but, he conceivably might be able to when he’s older. So I reckon I’m developing a power hitter. That’s a new one for me, and, well, if I’m gonna be going this seriously, I need experience working with kids with all kinds of skill sets.
Thanks to COVID, Noah’s classes are all online, which means no teams at his school, which means no goal to work towards, and Noah’s the kind of kid who could use a goal. The whole reason Mr. Clarke hired me was so I could help get Noah to make the JV team in the 10th grade, but instead now we’re just hanging out in the backyard and at Chuy’s for 90 minutes a week. (I see Noah on Wednesdays after I’m finished with Cody.) I don’t think Noah hates working with me, but maybe that’s one reason I’m not bonding with him like I bonded with Lucas and Cody. Joyce keeps telling me that I should just get used to it: “not every pupil you get is going to love you, Hunter.”
So I reckon Noah’s not gonna be a buddy like Lucas is. Maybe we’ll find out if it’s him or me if I get another pupil his age. I do get on great with Cody – he’s not a buddy obviously, but he does feel a little like that younger brother I don’t have. And at this point, it’s more important that I connect with kids his age, since my newest pupils are 11 and 9 and are making for some of the most interesting stuff to happen to me in a while…