Is This Heaven?

People Will Come, Ray

If you build it…

If you build it…

In the movie Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner plays Ray Kinsella, an Iowa farmer who hears voices telling him to build a baseball field on his in his cornfields. Most people think Ray is losing his mind but one man, Terrance Mann played by James Earl Jones, thinks otherwise and gives an impassioned speech to in trying to convince him to put a simple field on this valuable farmland. He says:

Ray, people will come Ray. They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won't mind if you look around, you'll say. It's only $20 per person. They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it; for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray.

The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has 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 of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.

The film's dialogue may read as being a bit hokey now but in 1989, it played well enough to make the film a smash hit as well as give Dyersville a tourist attraction.

And, guess what...people are STILL flocking to Iowa for a simple game of catch. I know this because when I was mapping out places to visit on my Big Dave Hugs America trip last year -The Field of Dreams was one of them.  

Sandwiched between my hug events stints in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Minneapolis, I drove through miles upon miles of farmland to reach the field and it was worth it.

Chatting with a “Dreamer”

That’s because, on this random Friday, The Field of Dreams was packed with families, and individuals from all over the world who were pitching, catching, hitting, running the base paths and smiling. It was awesome. What made my visit even cooler was meeting this guy who, of the tens of thousands of people I met that summer, had the coolest job title ever: Dreamer.

I can’t remember his name but recall that his job entailed his greeting people as they entered the field and helping them live out their dream playing on the field.

Being a dream facilitator seemed like a cool gig and as I chatted with him wearing his replica uniform of the 1919 Chicago White Sox featured in the movie with a patch that says “Dreamer,” on each sleeve,  I asked him to estimate the number of visitors the field gets each year.

After a few silent moments, he wryly said,  “A lot.”

We both chuckled at that one but, one thing that he did know was that seeing the glint or “ magic” in every visitor's eye never gets old for him. “It’s a great thing to see,” he said.

I was on a tight schedule so I couldn't stay long but I couldn’t help but deliver the last line from the movie.

"Is this heaven,” I asked.

“No, this is Iowa’ he said with a smile.

Keep dreaming people.

Hugs and High5s