Field of Dreams In a Land of Hope
A yellow tinge has appeared on the leaves in our neighborhood now. It tells me that summer is about to change into fall. Friday night High School football is back, kids are in their normal school routine, and here I am reflecting on the summer that just passed.
With every passing summer I am often reminded of childhood summers in the Midwest. For more than half of my life baseball has been a part of every summer. Sure, fishing, golf, time spent by the pool, and lake life are a part of it too. However, baseball has always been my summer love.
I will never forget the first time I ever saw the movie “Field of Dreams.” It was 1993 and I was in my Navy barracks room alone one night watching TV. Not impressed with the local syndicated broadcasting, I noticed a movie my roommate rented from Blockbuster. I slipped it into the VCR and hit play.
To say that I was not prepared for what Field of Dreams would do to me is an understatement. I cried like a baby. To many, I am sure the movie makes no sense and is wildly unrealistic. To those of you who feel that way, you are right. However, over the years we have seen this movie touch the hearts of people from all over the country in ways rarely seen. A small baseball field in the middle of Iowa has been turned into a an entire complex complete with its own Major League Baseball game played every year at that location.
What made the movie so special to me at the time was really two things: 1) I quit baseball my sophomore year of high school. 2) my relationship at the time with my father was very strained. If any of you have seen the movie you know these two themes are paramount in the movie. When “Doc” Moonlight Graham stepped across that line to save the little girls life…I lost it. He gave up his dream of playing baseball to do what he was called to do as a doctor. When confronted about the tragedy of being so close to your dream of playing big league baseball for 5 minutes and not taking the opportunity Doc Graham said this:
“If I’d only gotten to be a doctor for five minutes, now that would have been a tragedy.”
I always regretted quitting baseball. Its not because I thought I had a chance at anything more than High School ball. I was never that good. Looking back, I think it was because I quit on a dream. It didn’t matter how unrealistic it was, it was still a dream. The Bible says in Joel 2:28:
“And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.
The hardest thing for young people to possess is a vision for their future. The hardest thing for an old man to do is to dream again. The cares of this life, the raising of a family, and working to achieve all that is expected of you can kill a man’s dream. For most of us, we find out along the way that this is a noble cause and one that we come to love.
There is no shortage of moments in the movie where a man’s heartstrings are pulled. So much so, that the topic is even discussed it on the Conan O’Brien Show with Kevin Costner. The host said that Field of Dreams is:
“One of the few films that makes all men cry”
The reconciliation that takes place between the main character and his father is largely understood to be the reason. To play catch with your dad again, to understand that being a father can mean sacrifice and regret, and the hope that if you build something larger than yourself then something will come of it, is what causes my eyes to well up with tears.
Years after my grandfather died, I was told he was much better grandpa than he ever was a father. I hope my kids will say that I was a good father and grandpa one day, but some days I am not sure. It would be nice if being a dad was all play and relaxing times, but that is not the case for many. The reconciliation of these truths is felt in this movie.
Having read the “Reconstitution Series” by the 17th Special Operations Group, I am reminded of this movie once again. There are several themes that I take away from that series but the one that sticks out to me the most is “We The People.” Donald Trump made it very clear that returning power to the people was his focus. Its almost as if a voice was speaking to him through the corn fields. “If you rebuild it, they will come.”
Of course, that is my play on the famous line from the movie, “If you build it, he will come.” I love movies with a great plot twist and Field of Dreams has a great one. The main character, Ray Kinsella (played by Kevin Costner) believes if he builds a baseball field that Shoeless Joe Jackson will come play there. The “he” in “If you build it, he will come” being a long since dead baseball player who was wrongfully kicked out of Major League Baseball.
As I look across the landscape, the field if you will, of MAGA country I find a place filled with hopes and dreams. Many of those dreams are for a triumphant return of Donald J Trump. I share in this dream. I share in the hope that Trump is vindicated for the 2020 election steal and those who cheated are brought to justice. However, I wonder if there is a plot twist waiting for us.
How many of us have heard speculations about what might trigger a military intervention? Or maybe we thought, “Surely, when this happens Trump or the military will step in.” Almost as if we are waiting for that one thing to happen that will trigger the events we hope for. Another play on the famous Field of Dreams line, “If we do something, he will come.”
The plot twist in Field of Dreams is that the “he” in “if you build it, he will come” is his own father. It was never about Shoeless Joe Jackson.
Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liota) reveals the truth to Ray Kinsella and reveals another on his way off the field. Before Shoeless Joe exits to the corn fields Ray Kinsella looks at his dad and says, “It was you” to which Joe replies “No Ray, it was you.” One of the more powerful moments in the movie.
What if we find out one day that the trigger for events; the event that is needed to trigger what we hope for is… YOU? What if it is not about the return of Donald Trump but the return of YOU (and I) to the principles and values that Make America Great Again? That starts with our return to the voting booths this November but must continue with more activism. We must be vocal and active in our local politics.
Donald Trump places a great deal of faith in our military and in us. The military is quietly doing its job, are we doing ours? Returning the power to a people who did little or nothing to earn it will only result in us surrendering it again. Trump and the patriots are not into giving handouts. Do you think handing the country back to a passive and apathetic citizenry is wise?
I saw my son off to college this past month. He played baseball throughout High School and could have gone on to play college baseball as well. He chose not to. Around his sophomore year he went to a church youth conference in St Louis, MO and something changed. Ever since then he told me he wanted to do something other than baseball after he graduates. We never pursued any college prospects after that.
Before their last home game of his senior season, the parents are invited onto the field for warmups. I was able to play catch one last time with my son. I had my Field of Dreams moment, and it was difficult to hold back the tears. The memories flowed like a river through me, and my tears were tears of joy, not sadness. Some would say it was tragedy for my son to never pursue a college career with the talent he has. I would answer them and say it would be a tragedy if my son never got the chance to go to Bible College.
It would be a tragedy if Donald Trump were to have only served one term (I think he returns bigly) but an even greater tragedy if We The People fail him, if we fail to do our part and lead with our values and principles. It was about you; it was always about you. It is you who deserves to be heard, it is your name that deserves to be seen on local ballots, and you are The Field of Dreams in a Land of Hope.
“I would rather die with Christ and hope in my heart and be called a fool than to stand over the dead corpse of the Republic and say I told you so.”