One of my favorite movies of all times is Field of Dreams. I’m really not a big baseball fan per se but there is something about that movie that transcends the sport. Probably because it’s really not really about baseball or building a baseball field in the middle of nowhere. It’s about so much more.
The storyline from the good old IMDB:
Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella hears a voice in his corn field tell him, “If you build it, he will come.” He interprets this message as an instruction to build a baseball field on his farm, upon which appear the ghosts of Shoeless Joe Jackson and the other seven Chicago White Sox players banned from the game for throwing the 1919 World Series. When the voices continue, Ray seeks out a reclusive author to help him understand the meaning of the messages and the purpose for his field.
Field of Dreams has so many memorable quotes and scenes that most people who have seen the movie can quote from. But there are is a scene that is probably lost on most but has always touched me . Darth Vader (James Earl Jones) playing the part of JD Salinger (Terrance Mann) walks into a small town newspaper office because in the 80s newspapers where still printed on dead trees and Google hadn’t been invented yet. Anyway, he reads the obituary of a local doctor who spent a day in the majors eons ago and then went to medical school and bought his wife a lot of blue hats. I’m really paraphrasing here.
The obituary was written by Chisolm Newspaper Publisher played by Anne Seymour in what was evidentially her last role. The scene occurs about 58 minutes in according to by the way, do you know how hard it is to Google an obscure scene from a movie?
00:58:00 -You wrote that. -The day he died.
00:58:03 Can I see that?
00:58:05 -You’re a good writer. -So are you.
They both look at each other, really look at each other for the first time, and there is this mutual respect and understanding that transcends words. It’s this scene that is just a perfect example of professional courtesy, and talent recognizing talent. It doesn’t matter that he’s a famous author and she is a small town newspaper publisher. Their gender and race do not matter. All that matters in that moment is that they make a connection through their shared gift: the power of the written word.
There’s another scene in the movie that I also like and can sort of relate to. In a combo dream/time-travel scene, Ray meets Doc Graham and offers to grant him his wish.
Dr. Graham: It was like coming this close to your dreams and then watch them brush past you like a stranger in a crowd. At the time, you don’t think much of it. You know, we just don’t recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they’re happening. Back then I thought, ‘Well, there’ll be other days.’ I didn’t realize that that was the only day. ….
Ray Kinsella: Fifty years ago, for five minutes you came within… y-you came this close. It would kill some men to get so close to their dream and not touch it. God, they’d consider it a tragedy.
Dr. Graham: Son, if I’d only gotten to be a doctor for five minutes… now that would have been a tragedy.
In 2006 I ran a 3:30 marathon in St Louis. It wasn’t enough to qualify me for the Boston Marathon but it was my best race of my life and still is my Personal Best. I missed BQing by 15 minutes and that is a good amount to miss it by. Any more and you really cannot even think about qualifying. And any less and it will drive you crazy to think how close you came and not get another chance.
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