Meiners Oaks kids
hear Giant hurler
By Jesse Phelps
They listened, questioned and
had their T-shirts, borrowed pieces of paper and even a few random
arms and faces signed. And just as soon as they stepped off the
sidewalk where the ballplayer stood signing for their classmates,
just far enough away to lose their cool a little and not get
caught, the fifth- and sixth-graders from Meiners Oaks School
broke into wide smiles and victory trots.
After all, the kids had just heard all about life in the major
leagues. The rare opportunity to talk with a real big leaguer
presented itself when school alum and San Francisco Giants pitcher
Noah Lowry visited and spoke at a special assembly in the school
cafeteria on Wednesday afternoon.
After an introduction from coordinating teacher Joanne McFerron,
who instructs Lowry's sister Micaela in her fifth-grade class,
the rookie hurler talked about the value of hard work and pursuit
of dreams, and fielded individual questions from the kids.
They wanted to ask about everything. They asked about whom Lowry's
heroes are (his father and God), what pitches he throws (fastball,
curve, change-up and slider) and where he bats in the lineup
("I'm not going to lie, it's ninth").
They asked if he's ever struck anyone out (Luis Gonzales was
victim No. 1 in "The Show"). They asked if he liked
pitching better than hitting. They asked what he practices the
They even asked him if he names his pitches. While Lowry does
not, he did say he knows of one pro, who shall remain nameless,
that has nicknamed his sinker "The Titanic."
Perhaps just a bit awed or perhaps even having a bit of trouble
discerning the line between reality and television, one intrepid
soul asked, "Are you The Rookie?"
The 23-year-old Lowry, who bears little resemblance to the aging
flamethrower played by Dennis Quaid in that modern Disney classic,
could only laughingly reply, "Not The Rookie, but a rookie."
Lowry took the opportunity to turn the tables as well, throwing
some questions back at the kids at the beginning of his talk.
When he asked who liked baseball, about 160 hands went up into
the air. When he asked who was thinking about college, the response
was, once again, near unanimous. However, when Lowry asked who
liked homework, the response was decidedly less enthusiastic.
He took the opportunity to teach a little, himself.
"You guys can do anything you want if you just work hard
at it," Lowry assured his adoring fans. "Don't let
anyone else tell you different."
It seemed that on this day, Lowry's word was gospel. The assembly
emptied slowly as each and every child got in line for an autograph
or three. Once out of his earshot but still close enough for
another look at their new hero, they enthusiastically agreed
that his visit had inspired them.
Zachariah Martin said it was "exciting" to talk to
Lowry and that the experience reinforced that he should follow
his dream of becoming a computer engineer when he grows up.
Said Danny Iniguez, still basking in the glow of his encounter,
"It was amazing because he's a baseball player and I've
never met one."
And Sebastian Henney, who got his shirt and two pieces of paper
signed, may have learned the most important lesson of all. Henney
said the experience of meeting Lowry will remind him to "be
good and do my homework."
The Ojai Valley News
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