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  • Writer's pictureLeigh Gerstenberger

Playing Catch

Updated: Mar 10, 2021

I try to start each day by spending time in a devotional entitled Daily Strength for Men by Chris Bolinger. The other day I was struck by this observation on the relationship between fathers and sons.

In the movie Field of Dreams, Ray Kinsella recounts how his father “never made it as a ball player, so he tried to get his son to make it for him.” But Ray refused to pursue his father’s dream and even refused to “have a catch with his father.” Ray left home at 17 and never returned, until his father’s funeral. At the end of the film, Ray’s father, John, appears on the field of dreams that Ray had built on his Iowa cornfield. Ray introduces his dad to his wife and daughter. As John begins to walk away, Ray asks, “Hey … Dad … you wanna have a catch?” John turns around and answers, “I’d like that.” They toss the ball back and forth as the film ends. The 1989 film has never ended for Dwier Brown, who played John. “For people who had a difficult relationship with their dad,” he says, “that scene got tattooed on the back of their retina.” Everywhere he goes strangers approach him to talk about their dads. “Some people come up and literally cry on my shoulder.” An attorney once confessed to Brown that “tears were pouring down” his cheeks during the pivotal scene. The man realized that he had made himself miserable trying to please his father; the film prompted major changes in his life. If you have trouble connecting with your father, Brown suggests having a catch with him.

“You have this wonderful back-and-forth. Playing catch is just enough of a distraction, especially for men. They might start talking about things they wouldn’t normally talk about. When you’re playing catch, the words just kind of come out of your mouth.” Let the healing begin.

If it’s been a while or you’ve never seen the final scene from Field of Dreams take three minutes to enjoy the portrayal of a special relationship between a son and his father.

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