Anything is possible, even second chances.

“I’m 36 years old, I love my family, I love baseball, and I’m about to become a farmer. But until I heard the voice, I’d never done a crazy thing in my whole life.”
Ray, from Field of Dreams

Feeling nostalgic. With pro baseball season in full swing, my son’s season just came to a close. Mixed feelings all around. The Dodgers blew it last year, but I’m hoping they get another shot at the World Series. And my son’s team won their division, but they too were bounced in playoffs. We’ll go to a few ballgames, talk about what we learned this year, and what we can build on for next year. Maybe have a catch once in a while. Like I did with my dad, when he was around.

Seemed like a good time to revisit Field of Dreams.

In the movie, An Iowa farmer (Ray) hears a mysterious voice one night in his cornfield saying “If you build it, he will come.” Despite taunts of lunacy, Ray builds a baseball diamond on his land. Afterward, the ghosts of great players emerge from the crops to play ball, led by “Shoeless” Joe Jackson. But, as Ray learns, this field of dreams is about much more than bringing former baseball greats out to play. He realizes that his field has been divinely ordained to give a second chance to group of specific heroes.

Yes, the movie is a bit of a fairy tale, and no, people don’t materialize out of cornfields. But there are great lessons to be learned from this magical story, especially when it comes to second chances.

Dare to Dream

We’ve all seen many examples of heroes beating the odds. And the strength of the underdog is part of human nature. But it starts with a vision, to achieve success, in business and in life. One of the recurring themes for all these stories is the willingness to take a chance, in following the dream. As crazy as it may sound when you first see, it, hear it, or feel it. Too many people look back on their lives, wishing they took a left turn instead of right. Wishing they took a risk and instead took the safer route.

In Field of Dreams, Ray takes a chance. Here’s a guy in his 30’s doing something totally illogical, like build a baseball diamond in the middle of his cornfields. Throughout the story, he has plenty of chances to give up on this crazy idea, but he follows his vision.

If you build it, he will come

Of course, this is the famous line from the movie, the voice in Ray’s head. If he builds the field, Shoeless Joe will come (along with the rest of the players). A great metaphor for life. We have to set the table, create the opportunity for success. Regardless of what path we choose, we have to commit to building the right foundation, the playing field, and then pool the resources to make the dream a reality.

Go the Distance

In Field of Dreams, and often in real life, it’s about second chances. Almost like a second coming of age. But you have to be willing to go the distance. Apply the patience and commit to going all the way. It’s okay to learn these lessons later in life, and pivot to follow a dream down a different path.

Ray gives second chances to these heroes, and in the end, he gets to “have a catch” with his Dad. He gets to create another memory. Call it nostalgia. Call it movie magic, or you can just call it a second chance.

About the Author:
Jon Fitzgerald is the Founder of Cause Cinema, connecting audiences to the best in social impact Cinema. He is also the author of Filmmaking for Change.