When I tell the story of why we went on our initial two month, 20,000 mile road trip in two months back in 2004, I point to three key elements;
1) Dad planted the seed for the idea back in 1990, inviting me to go to all 30 MLB stadiums over the course of, well, as long as it would take us. We went to seven parks in the course of two years;
1990: Tiger Statdium, Comiskey Stadium, Milwaukee County Stadium, and Wrigley Field.
1991: Veteran Stadium, "Old" Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park
2) Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's (PD) in 2001.
3) I rewatched the Field of Dreams in 2004 and absolutely lost it. While I'd always enjoyed the film, in context, it inspired me to call my dad that night and tell him we couldn't end up like John and Ray. I didn't have a farm to build a field in.
Our visit to the Field of Dreams movie site in 2004 was everything we imagined and a lot more. Along with having a catch, we interviewed the field's owner, Don Lansing, played a pickup game of baseball with other visitors and were generally overwhelmed by the actual magic of the place.
During that road trip in 2004, we learned that the rally cry for Parkinson's was: 'A cure within 10 years!" When that didn't happen, we felt our dreams may have deceived us. Maybe we were naive. We shifted our focus from hoping for a cure to actively working on defining and living our highest quality of life every day.
In 2020, during a pandemic that shut everyone in, we decided it was time to plan for the time when we could get out and get together with friends and family again. We decided to return to the Field of Dreams and celebrate all things Boys of Summer, which now includes three films and a fourth which has begun production.
On July 25th, 2021, we returned to the Field of Dreams, this time with family and friends, most of whom had never been before. We had a home run derby which raised $460 for a local Parkinson's group, we sang along with dueling piano pros Christine Cochrane and Will Townsley and we had a screening of the third film in the Boys of Summer series, Short Stop, on the field. We even got to spend the night in the farm house. My wife said, half-jokingly, she kept waiting for someone to come in and tell us we weren't supposed to be there.
In so many ways, the Field of Dreams has been the heartbeat that has kept us going for all these years - both the film and the movie site. It's awesome to see, after all these years, that the story and what was once a humble cornfield in Dyersville, IA are both still beating so strong and encouraging and inspiring others to live their best. More stories about the people who came and what they experienced to follow...