Naturist kid falls in love with cute girl. Hero baseball coach be my dad, he
Sean phones Roxanne.
“Hi Roxanne. This is Sean.”
“Hi Sean. Waaazzup?”
“I have some time before heading out to the ball field.”
“People are impressed with your coaching.”
“Oh really. Must be beginners luck.”
“You’re too modest…. Well, you were before Black’s Beach.”
Feeling daring, “I miss you Roxanne. Why don’t you come with us Saturday?”
Laughing uncomfortably, “Are you out of your mind!?”
“Obviously. I’m not surprised by your reaction. It’s just that I’ve had a great awakening. Our big fight means nothing to me now. ‘To be, or not to be’ is the roadblock in our relationship.”
Sarcastically, “To be a nudist, or not to be, huh? Yeah, I’d say it’s a stumbling block.”
“And the fact that I’m in love with someone else.”
Feeling like she’d been stabbed, “Can’t you just beat around the bush a little!?”
I don’t mean to hurt you, Roxanne. That’s the last thing I want to do. As much as I love you, we are on different pages now. So I have clear choices now. If you were to become a naturist, then I would have tough choices to make.”
“I was hoping to bring the wandering sheep home, but you clearly have said to forget it.”
With great sadness, “Yes, my dear, I’m not lost, I’m found.”
In tears, “So, Sean, it’s goodbye.”
Also crying, “Goodbye, my love.”
“Goodbye, sweet thing.”
Sean arrives at the field early.
“Hi coach! Good to see you!”
“Fred??? Fred. Fred! Wow! I never saw you so upbeat!”
“Yeah. Couldn’t be happier! Jeff helped me understand what went wrong against the Tigers. We’re friends now. My dad likes Jeff, so it must be OK for me to be friends with him. My dad says you’re a good coach—I never expected that from him—so now I’m happy you’re my coach.”
“Great! Does that mean I can give you a hug?”
Pausing to think, “Well … yeah…. But I’m not ready. Just give me some skin.”
Raising his hand, “Sure! A high five, ‘cause you’re alive!”
Before game time, Sean observes Fred being friendly with all three Cub pitchers. Each shows surprise and appreciation, followed by high five’s. When he sees Alex, “Hi Alex!”
Totally shocked, “You… you… you know my name. You didn’t call me faggot! Or grundle licker, or pansy boy. Are you takin’ the piss?”
“Alex, I still hate you for being gay, but I’m sorry too. I feel bad I body-slammed you last month. I’m sorry, Alex, for that and all the nasty things I said to you and about you.”
Alex reaches to hug Fred. Terrified, “Don’t touch me please!”
“Oh. I forgot, Fred. How about a high five?”
“No Alex. I can’t handle that. Sorry.”
“It’s OK, Fred. Don’t worry. It’s kewl.”
During the game Fred discovers new ways to encourage our pitchers. He hustles ‘til it hurts, having more fun than ever. His spark energizes the entire team. Michael and Karim get past minor pitching problems, combining for a shutout. Despite a lopsided victory, the Cubs play hard and smart in the field. A game that one might call boring, based on the score, gets played with excitement throughout, even by the Giants. They feel no shame in losing, as the Cubs show high respect for them.
After the teams cross the field for customary handshakes, Sean calls a team meeting. “It looks like everyone figured out respect. Never before have I witnessed a team with so wonderful…” Sean breaks down in tears. One by one the players give him a hug. Last but not least, Fred looks Sean in the eyes, also breaking down in tears. Fred instinctively falls into his arms, then gasps in fear. Softly, “It’s OK, Fred.”
“I don’t think I ever hugged someone before.” As Sean sees Fred relax, he completes the hug by wrapping his arms around his shoulders. With tears flowing freely Fred manages the words, “I feel loved.”
“That’s because you have opened your heart to love. Congratulations!” One by one the Cubs come to give Fred a hug.
Alex timidly reaches for a high five. “Oh, what the hell,” Fred sighs, reaching for a hug instead.
Hugging him, “Fred, you get cool points for this!”
Last but not least, his friend Roy says, “This is so weird. We never hugged before.”
Fred now smiling, “Just do it!” And they do. Fred’s father watches intently from the sideline. Part of him wants to cuss a bloody storm. Part of him senses that something wonderful is happening to his son. As Fred and Roy walk off the field Fred sees his father, “Oh, no! All hell’s gonna break loose.” Suddenly Mr. Weber starts crying uncontrollably. Fred quickly runs to him, throwing his arms around him, “It’s OK Dad!” Mr. Weber loses his breathe in panic. “Dad, I don’t think we ever even shook hands before.” Falling to the ground, Mr. Weber only hears a distant voice.
Sean rushes to the scene, “He’ll be OK, Fred. He’ll be OK. It may take a little time. You’re doing good, real good.” A couple times a minute, Mr. Weber gasps for air, like a swimmer coming up for air.
“When will this stop, Sean!?”
“I don’t know, but it’s going good.” After nearly ten minutes, which seems like an eternity, Mr. Weber pants heavily, continuously.
“Sean!!! What’s wrong! What’s wrong!”
“This is good, Fred, he’s coming out of it.”
He’s not! … He’s dying! He stopped breathing now!”
“What am I doing on the ground?”
Reaching down, “Dad!!! You talked!!! You talked!”
“Of course. What happened?”
“You cried, Dad! A lot!”
“Not me. I don’t cry.”
“That’s what I thought! Let me help you up.”
Fearing that another hug may set him off again, Sean says, “How about giving your dad a high five.”
“Put your hand up Dad.”
“Yeah…. Your first high five, Dad!”
“Thanks, Fred. Now I want to go home.”
“Take it easy, Fred. Take care, Mr. Weber.” Heading out, each says bye to Sean.
As they arrive at Sean’s house, Sean and Jeff decide to shower together. They talk mostly about the new Fred, and his father. Sean entertains the idea of inviting their family along with Rachel and Jeff to hang out at the pool. To Jeff’s dismay, he suggests that they wear big, baggy bathing suits, “If they find out that we’re nudists, they may resort back to their old ways. And the more that Mr. Weber gets to know you as a person, the easier it will be for him to avoid seeing you as a sex object.”
“Yeah, I hear ya. It sounds boring though.”
“I’m not thrilled either. But I hope you realize that Fred is counting on you right now. He needs your support, not necessarily a deep friendship, just support.”
“Well, I really like the new Fred.”
“And Mr. Weber needs a lot of TLC.”
“Tomato, lettuce and cottage cheese—I don’t get it.”
Laughing, “No. No. He needs Tender Loving Care…. See what your mom says.”
“OK. Hey this shower thing is becoming second nature to us.”
DO YOU MIND IF I’M KIND?
The Cardinals and Cubs talk up a storm in school about their upcoming game. Both teams have just one loss and are tied for first place. The developing rivalry takes a pleasant tone. Fred and Ricky tend to respond to an insult with a bigger insult. However, they then remember the value of being respectful. Neither resorts to an apology. Ricky turns the insult into something funny to prevent a word war. Fred’s new line is “I’m too happy to stay mad at you.” Most kids can’t believe they’re hearing that from Fred. They simply appreciate the change, but doubt that it will last. Fred worries about his dad. His dad continues his ‘be kind’ kick but seems to be unbalanced. His dark side seems to torment him and sabotage his efforts.
Fred’s buddy Roy has mixed feelings. He felt safe in the old friendship. Now he doesn’t know what to expect. He loves hearing Fred’s praise, but it frightens him as well. First it surprises Fred to see Roy’s fear. After noticing this fear on a few occasions, he starts realizing that he too gets frightened by kindness—from his dad.