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"Field of Dreams": Choosing Priorities

Field of Dreams is a movie about baseball, pursuing a dream, and choosing life's priorities. Half way through the film, Ray Kinsella, played by Kevin Costner, travels back in time to meet with Doc Graham, played by Burt Lancaster. Doc had been a rookie ballplayer who made it to the big leagues for one season, only to play for half an inning—never making a defensive play, never getting to bat.

The two men walk into Doc's office speaking wistfully about the joy and beauty of the game of baseball, the smell of leather, and the sound of the crowd. Yet, after his half-inning on the brink of glory, Doc had walked away from baseball, choosing to live out the rest of his days doctoring in his hometown. His chief regret: If only he could have gotten to bat, just once, he would have stood strong at the plate, looked the pitcher right in the eye… and winked. How he would have enjoyed that! Just once.

Yet he walked away. Why? "I couldn't bear the thought of another year in the minors," says Doc. "So I decided to hang 'em up."

"What was that like?" Ray asks.

"It was like coming this close to your dreams and watching them brush past you like a stranger in a crowd. At the time you don't think much of it. We just don't recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they're happening. Back then I thought: Well, there will be other days. I didn't realize…that was the only day."

"Fifty years ago you came so close," says Ray. "It would kill some men to get that close to their dream and not touch it. They'd consider it a tragedy."

"Son, if I'd only gotten to be a doctor for half an inning, now that would have been a tragedy."

Elapsed Time: Measured from initial flashing of the studio symbol, this scene begins at 1:04.05 and ends at 1:09.30.

Background: Field of Dreams, rated PG, is a family-oriented film that conveys the value of family life, doing what's right, and reconciling differences in family relationships. However, there is some reference in the opening scene to marijuana usage; also there are a few occasions of mildly offensive language.

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