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Column: Reflecting on these Fields of Dreams

We all have regrets which we seek to try to reconcile, regrets which become more potent, it seems, as we grow older.

I was re-watching “Field of Dreams” this past week for the upteenth time, and it remains one of my favourites.

Not only is the film a good one with great performances by all the cast, using the backdrop of baseball to talk about making amends and second chances, it also dares to challenge us to follow our dreams and be open to revelations from a higher power.

The movie has additional special meaning for me in that I once met W.P. Kinsella, the Canadian author whose story, “Shoeless Joe Comes to Iowa,” the film is based on.

I had the opportunity to sit in on a writers’ workshop with Kinsella at the University of Regina, where I was attending at the time. He had come to town as the keynote speaker at a symposium put on by the Faculty of Arts, and the outpouring of admiration for Kinsella was obvious, particularly among the men who attended. The story’s central theme about the bonds between fathers and sons, an unspoken bond represented by the sport of baseball and the act of having a catch together, is one that resonates with many men.

Kinsella was a character and not someone I would call a paternal figure despite his silver hair and moustache. He had a mischievous glint in his eye as he spoke to the crowd and always seemed to be on the cusp of cussing out loud, but was consciously forcing himself to hold back.

He had the air of a man who had come up the hard way, and was now relishing in a well-deserved late career victory lap. That film “Field of Dreams” was his “If you build it, they will come” moment, and must have been immensely satisfying for him in so many ways.

However, his story achievement and the film adapted from it were remarkable. We all have regrets which we seek to try to reconcile, regrets which become more potent, it seems, as we grow older. “Field of Dreams” speaks to us on that ground level of human nature.

There is also a potent nostalgia to the movie that anyone who grew up in a rural areas of the prairie can relate to. When I was a kid, I remember shagging flies with my father and uncle and playing catch with my brothers on golden evenings.

"Memories so thick, they'll have to brush them away from their faces," indeed.


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