By Aaron M. Smith
"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." -- Terence Mann
|Me in the left field corn at the Field of Dreams site in Iowa.|
My brother Jeremy and I were giddy; the quietness of the night, the breeze on our faces, and the smell of the sweet corn in the outfield transported us to our youth. There is something about that place that you can feel in your gut. It turns adults into little boys with over-sized baseball caps full of dreams of making it to the Bigs someday when they grow up. With clouds rushing past the nearly full moon that night, Jeremy and I patrolled the outfield grass. We walked into the corn, disappearing into the darkness, half expecting to magically land in some sort of baseball heaven. We didn't need to be magically transported; we were already there.
|Me and Jeremy in Iowa.|
After we had our share on the field that night, we drove back to the hotel a few miles away and hurried to sleep so that we could return in the morning. After breakfast, we went and bought a baseball glove and drove the beautiful serpentine roads of rural Iowa until we found the long gravel driveway of the farmhouse. To see the field in daylight was just as spectacular as the night before. I could visualize the whole movie -- Joe Jackson cracking fly balls to the cornfield in left, Archie winking, Terence Mann on the bleachers.
But why? Why did he drive every year from Indiana to some empty baseball field in the middle of rural Iowa? Why did Jeremy and I make sure to visit the field? Why had it been a dream of mine to do that for so many years?
|The Field of Dreams house|
|Mighty Sierra at the bat|
|Sierra and Aidan have the bond of baseball.|
And that is why a lonely old man strolls around an empty diamond in rural Iowa every summer with visions of his father or brothers or friends playing baseball on an emerald swath of grass so many years ago.
|A "ghost player" recreating the role of Chicago White Sox legend Shoeless Joe Jackson plays ball with a young tourist|
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)