One of the best sports movies of all time, at least what I consider one of my favorites, is “Field of Dreams,” where Kevin Costner, aka Ray Kinsella, plows up his cornfield in Iowa and builds a beautiful baseball stadium.
The idea comes from a voice he hears while walking through the rows of corn that convinces him that if he builds it, “he will come.”
The movie is filled with hidden meanings and chances for people to make amends for past wrongs. There’s “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and the rest of the Chicago White Sox players, banned from the game for throwing the 1919 World Series, who show up on the ball field with a chance to redeem themselves.
Terrence Mann, a 1960’s author who wrote stories of the glory days of baseball who had become worn down by the realities of life but got the chance to relive his dream with the former players, was played by the great actor James Earl Jones.
And Archibald “Moonlight” Graham, who gave up his dream of being a big-leaguer to pursue his medical career who gets his opportunity once again to suit up and face big-league pitching.
In the end, when faced with the decision to stay as a player or help a little girl choking on a hot dog, Moonlight makes the same decision he did all those years ago and leaves his baseball career behind saving the day and the girl.
The main plot of the story is that Kinsella gets to make up with his father John, a man who loved baseball, the White Sox, and Jackson, and who had become estranged from his son over the years.
Not too many of us get the opportunity to make amends for things that we’ve done in the past, but because he believed in the voices in his head (or in the cornfield), Kinsella got that opportunity.
We don’t always understand the impact we have on our own children by taking the time to be with them, to see what’s going on in their lives, or just to participate in making memories that will last a lifetime. We get caught up in the pressures of the world and forget what joys we can get from and give to our kids just by spending time with them.
I believe a lot of the social issues we have now can be traced back to a lack of parental participation with their children. Sometimes, it’s the parent who is absent and at times others, more often than not lately, the kids who have their heads buried in the electronic devices and “reality” games.
Try to find ways to be together, even if it’s for only a few minutes. When my kids were younger, we would love to go outside and play “500” where I threw pop-flies until my arm fell off, a by-product of my torn rotator cuff from participating in rock battles.
I’m sure at some time in the near future that will accompany my other titanium replacement parts.
We would maybe throw the lacrosse ball together, shoot some hoops, or play “offense-defense” where the boys would take turns pounding each other going after one of my errant passes. Now those days are replaced with the boys and their friends filling our front yard for games of “fiddlestyx” and me on the porch or inside making sure our dog stays out of the play.
Some of the most fun we had was playing the games that our boys made up or modified over the years. There’s Battle-Borg, where we long ago threw away the directions and played our own version where dice are rolled at the game pieces in a battle of the last one standing. Our family favorite, “Milan Campion,” a soccer version of cut-throat with rotating teammates drilling shots at the goalkeeper who feverishly defends the goal (fireplace), was something the boys would do for hours on end.
We were pretty busy and seemed like we had places to go and things to do, but my boys always convinced me to spend that little bit of time that made the best out of our time together.
With my own father’s passing years ago from the effects of dementia, I can only look back on fond memories that we had throwing the baseball in the yard and hope that my boys will one day do the same.
We’re down to our last one in his last year in high school, and things will never again be the same when this next year comes to a close.
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These are times you can never get back once they’re gone. As Ray Kinsella did with his father, the next time your child says, “Hey, dad, you wanna have a catch?” dust off your glove and go make some memories.