Every summer around this time I watch this movie. I like the story, the acting, the directing not to mention all the corn which makes me think about home. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I have come to enjoy this movie so much in all the years that I have been away from the States.
There are some interesting back stories to this film.
In the summer of 1988 when this film was being shot, I was taking a summer class at Carl Sandburg College, which offered extension courses from Western Illinois University where I was attending as a graduate student. That summer, I took two classes, “The Literature of Venice” and “Utopian Literature.” The one on “Utopian Literature” was the one offered at Carl Sandburg and twice a week I rode up to the college with the professor, Dr. Loren Logsdon who was also one of my thesis advisors.
The summer of 1988 was one of the hottest summers on record. I was living in this second floor apartment just off the Macomb Square and it was so hot, I slept in the kitchen because that was where the air conditioner was.
On the way up and back to Carl Sandburg, Dr. Logsdon and I talked about books and baseball. You can learn a lot outside of the classroom and I really enjoyed the talks I had with Dr. Logsdon.
One of the students in the class, was a friend of Dr. Logsdon’s who was taking the course to complete her Masters in teaching. She was from Galena, Illinois and drove down for the class.
Talk about a small world. Turns out her husband was an electrician and that summer had done some electrical work for Kevin Costner who rented a house in Galena while he was doing the film.
That summer was also the last time I went to a baseball game when I saw the Cubs in June.
A year later, when the movie came out, it was the last movie I saw before I went to Japan to teach English.
That’s why there’s a special place in my heart for this movie. It will always remind me of that summer and my last year in graduate school when I was filled with so many dreams but still didn’t know what path I was going to take.
Now it reminds me of growing up in the Midwest and like the character Terrance Mann (James Earl Jones) says,
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.
That’s why I love this movie.