The memories will be so thick, they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game – it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again. Oh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come. — James Earl Jones as Terrence Mann in Field of Dreams
In case you had any doubt about the truth of James Earl Jones’ famous monologue in the baseball classic Field of Dreams, a Texas couple proved the point this past week.
A beautifully-written piece in The New York Times shares the story of Frank and Alice Miller. Frank is 74, and found himself yearning for a game of catch. His wife Alice, more facile with social media, posted a request on NextDoor, a social media site that connects people to others in their neighborhoods.
People responded with their interest. Alice and Frank set up a time and named a place in a local park. They didn’t know if anyone would actually show up, but men of varying ages showed up with their baseballs and gloves, and engaged in a non-political, socially-distant game of catch.
As I read the story, I could hear James Earl Jones giving his speech from Field of Dreams. In the movie screen of my mind I could see the ball players emerge from the corn stalks.
The article touched something in me; a place of hope and possibility. In a time when the United States feels more divided than ever — indeed, the game of catch happened as the House was debating impeachment. Again. — this story reminded me that there is plenty of good out there.
As I scrolled through the comments I discovered I was not alone in this sentiment. The comments were filled with shared memories of games of catch and a consensus that we need more stories like this right now.
Here are some of my favorite comments:
One of the things I love most about browsing the NYT and a few other news sites is coming unexpectedly across a story like this. Simple, but regular people being decent to each other, connecting a bit, and everyone left feeling better. — Michael Kidd, Canada
Baseball is life. It’s teamwork, patience, exciting, boring and they play every day. It’s moments shared with families and friends. It’s a game of catch. And baseball never gets old. — Steve Jones, Charlotte
Why am I crying? As they say, this brought up all the ‘feels’ that are just below the surface these days….Thanks for giving my emotions a needed release! — Christine, NYC
I am having a little trouble typing this. My eyes are stinging and my chest is doing little heaves as I think of the true things that never change in our lives if we are willing to show up for them. All it takes is putting out the word. I could hear the thwack of ball in glove and the easy banter back and forth. My buddies Harold and David and Kenny and I are at the schoolyard. Hitting flies. Playing catch. Springtime in January. 70 years becomes just a moment. — Earl Rose, Palm Springs, CA
Thank you NYT. In a moment of so much division, how lovely that a game of catch brought people together. I wept reading this. — Rosiegator, Miami
“Feel Good In The Core / Heart” stories are part of what fuel our Hopeful Souls. Thank you for sharing this goodness, what pure delight it has brought…. THIS is the sort of stuff that brings us together. — Amanda, Denver, CO
Life is baseball. It’s a game of patience and fortitude. A test of endurance. A game where even the best players fail most of the time. And it is a game that cannot be played alone.
We’re all in this together. And we’ll get through it together. No matter how many innings it takes.