Monday, September 1, 2008

Finding your spirit lines in a field of dreams...

As a new beginning, I thought it fitting to post the piece of writing that ended up being the title for this blog. Enjoy!

Finding Your Spirit Lines in a Field of Dreams

I remember when the movie first came out. I was living in Arizona at the time and had never thought Iowa could be so beautiful. I still remember when James Earl Jones, in the character of Terrance Mann, spoke these words:

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 $2o 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 shirt sleeves 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 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.”[1]

Another character in the movie, Moonlight Graham, played by Burt Lancaster, was true to life. Archibald Wright Graham was a highly successful minor league player for the Charlotte Hornets of the North Carolina Baseball League.
In the summer of 1905, Moonlight Graham was on the roster of the New York Giants: for five minutes. Five minutes in right field when the Dodgers three quick infield outs ended the game. He never did get up to bat in the major leagues. Instead, Archibald Wright Graham left baseball for good to pursue his dream of becoming a medical doctor.

When I packed my bags during the summer of 1995 and headed east towards my dreams, I happened to drive through the State of Iowa and was amazed at how beautiful this part of the country never seen before was. About 25 miles west of Dubuque on the outskirts of Dyersville, is this field of dreams. If you happen to one day experience what I did years before, remember to bring along your glove or sit and dream on the bleachers for awhile.

As I visit classrooms, sit at the ‘supper table’ listening to the stories that are told, or stop in the hallway to share short ‘vignettes’ that make me laugh, I can’t help but realize that teachers are the catalyst for the dreams of our children, and this my friends is the greatest of responsibilities.

In everything they do, in everything they say, teachers shape the destiny of others. And whether it is a good day or a not so good one, there are others around to lift the spirit. However, I choose to argue that this is not enough. We must discover the spirit lines of our children so that the dreams we hold can be within their reach as well.

As you continue your own personal and professional journey, I want to share one final thought. Another line in the movie reminded me of what teachers are entrusted to do. Kevin Costner, in the lead role of Ray Kinsella, commented that for many, a five minute Major League baseball career would be considered a tragedy.

With that said, Doc Graham answered, “Son, if I’d only got to be a doctor for five minutes, now that would have been a tragedy.”[2]

If I could have creative license, I would change the quote just to bit to read: “Friends, if you only got to be a teacher for five minutes, now, that would be a tragedy.”

[1] Robinson (Director). (1998) Field of Dreams [Motion Picture].United States: Universal Studios.
[2] Robinson (Director). (1998) Field of Dreams [Motion Picture].United States: Universal Studios.

1 comment:

winging_it said...


It's wonderful to know that you're still highlighting, writing and inspiring "spirit lines" .... in ever-expanding spheres of influence. Your positive, creative energy does us all good!