Field of Dreams

A couple of nights ago I watched a rerun of the 1989 film “Field of Dreams” on television. My daughter watched it with me too. It’s been quite a while since I saw that movie. In fact the last time I watched it was when I was still in the Philippines. I had no clue at that time that one day this film would parallel my life story.

As you all probably know it, that movie was filmed in Iowa. It’s about a farmer who turned part of his cornfields plot into a baseball field. Many of his friends and family thought he was going insane converting a profitable agricultural land into a playing field that nobody would come to as it was in the middle of nowhere. Then to his surprise, famous dead baseball players came to play on his field.

MLB Confirms Field of Dreams Game Pushed to 2021 – KCHA News
scene from the movie Field of Dreams

The site where it was filmed which is in Dyersville, Iowa, was preserved just like it was in that movie and it remains a popular tourist attraction to this day.

The film starred Kevin Costner, Earl James Jones, Ray Liotta, and Burt Lancaster in his final film role. It was interesting that both then-teenagers Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, were extras in one of the scene at Fenway baseball stadium.

The movie featured Iowa cornfields and baseball but I believe it is more than that. Honestly, when I first watched it years ago when I was still a smog-inhaling, jeepney-riding inhabitant of Manila, I did not really dig it. However, after living in the US for more than 25 years now and understanding more the American way of living including baseball which is ingrained to this culture, I have a better appreciation of the film.

The movie though has a lot of symbolism that went beyond baseball. I believe one of the takeaway from the film is about pursuing your passion and your dreams even though how unreasonable it may seems to other people that they might think you are losing your mind. And this to me, took a somewhat personal connection.

One of the iconic scenes of the movie is when Ray, the main character who built the baseball field, and who had regrets that he did not spend much time playing baseball with his father who played for the Minor League, saw a younger version of his departed father, John, who came to play baseball on his field. The scene had these lines:

John Kinsella: “Is this heaven?”

Ray Kinsella: “It’s Iowa.”

John Kinsella: “Iowa? I could have sworn this is heaven.”

Ray Kinsella: “Is there a heaven?”

John Kinsella: “Oh yeah. It’s a place where dreams come true.”

Ray looked around at his field and at his home nearby where he saw his wife and his daughter happily playing at the porch, finally answered back:

Ray Kinsella: “Maybe this is heaven.”

When we moved here to Iowa, after residing in America for 10 years, and living in New Jersey, New York City, California and Florida, some thought we were making a wrong decision. Why move to an “obscure” land of cornfields? We were asked questions that went like this:

Iowa? Where is Iowa? Why Iowa? Are you thinking right?

But after living here for 16 years and counting, and having my dreams come into fruition here, maybe this is really heaven.

photo taken at Selfie Museum in Des Moines, Iowa

Coming out from the Cornfields

I was standing at a clearing beside a cornfield. Then all of a sudden I saw people, dressed in their sports gear, coming out of the cornfield. Was I dreaming?

My name is not Kevin Costner, and the scene I was witnessing was not from the film “Fields of Dreams,” which by the way, was shot in Iowa.

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scene from the movie Field of Dreams

The people I saw emerging from the cornfields were not baseball players, but rather cyclists, with their biking shirts, shorts and helmets on.

Here’s my story.

Me and my friends took part in the recently concluded Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI), which was a 7-day long event. The total length of this year’s route was 405 miles. Though we only rode a 1-day leg, from Perry to Des Moines (3rd day route), which was still a formidable 50 mile course.

We could have not picked a better day to participate. Besides that it was the shortest course, and probably the flattest (1308 feet of climb), but the weather was also perfect. The temperature was in the high 60’s to 70’s F (it was in the 90’s to 100’s the day before), and was overcast, so it was cool the whole day through.

My friends and I were not real cyclists and this was our first RAGBRAI ride. We rode slow that I don’t think we passed any cyclists, yet everybody seems to be overtaking us. Including a grandma who was celebrating her 90th birthday, riding a recumbent tandem bike with her daughter, who was also older than we were.

I learned many biker’s lingo during the ride. They shout “biker off” to alarm other riders, when they are stopping and exiting on the shoulder of the road. “Biker on,” when they are getting back on the road and rejoining the pack. (I wish I could shout “flame on,” like the superhero Human Torch, and my bike will be ablaze and zoom.) “Car up” when there’s an approaching car up ahead, or “car back” when there’s a vehicle behind. Then there’s “on your right” or “on your left,” to warn you when they were about to overtake you.

I also heard a chilling warning calling out “Biker down!” Aside from calling assistance to the biker who fell, it is also to alert other bikers to get ready to stop or slow down to avoid domino-like collision.

Unfortunately, that call for “biker down” was for my friend, after he collided with another friend. I told you we were novice bikers. Good thing we were going slow, so he was not seriously injured, and only had a scraped knee. He just don’t have photos to remind him of the RAGBRAI, but a physical memento as well. He wore that wound like a badge of honor.

We stopped a number of times to rest. And to eat too. The course was lined with food stalls and other specialty booths offering a variety of things, especially in towns we passed through.

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photo courtesy of RAGBRAI.com

Then in one lonely stretch of the road flanked by vast cornfields, as we stopped for ice cream (did we eat more than we burned?), was when I saw people coming out of the cornfields.

Why were they coming out of the cornfields? Was it a mirage?

No, it was not. And it has nothing to do with “build it, and they will come,” symbolic theme of the movie “Field of Dreams.” (Though you can say RAGBRAI draws both national and international participants to Iowa.) These people emerging out of the cornfields had a more plain and practical explanation.

There were more than 10,000 bike riders that took part on RAGBRAI. Even though there were several hundreds of portable toilets, mostly placed in the town stops, it may still not enough to provide “relief” for everybody in every place.

But who need toilets, when you have thousands of acres of cornfields spread all over the course, right?

So what did the riders do inside the cornfields? You don’t want to know.

Build it and they will come

After 100 posts, more than 3000 visits, exactly 6 months of blogging, and tons of fun doing it, I would like to give thanks where thanks are due.

First to my wife and family who provides me constant inspiration to write (and live), and for fully supporting me on this endeavor (endeavor?? ok, ok, it’s just a hobby). In addition, I thank my wife for furnishing me many of the pictures I post (except those I got from the internet). Thank you also for allowing me and tolerating me to hog the computer most of the time.

Second, I am indebted to my former classmate in high school and a good friend, Jenny, who motivated and got me started in writing and blogging. Thank you for your continued encouragement.  Even though I am not ready yet for a career change, for I have not made any single cent yet from blogging (I don’t expect I will), I surely am loving this. To my friend who have made a living in writing: to be a woman and be able to express your opinion is entitlement, but to get paid for expressing your opinion, that is bliss.

Most of all, to you readers who keep on visiting and reading my blogs. When I started blogging, I did it for my own amusement. However, later on I realized that if I can also entertain others, or better yet, inspire or provoke other people to think and see things from a different perspective, then it will be more worthwhile doing this. Thank you for making me a part of your everyday read. It brings me great joy to create and maintain this blog site, and having you all come and visit. As it was said in the film Field of Dreams (1989 movie with Kevin Costner, which was filmed in Iowa), “Build it and they will come”.

Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.

One of the movies I remembered seeing while I was still in Manila is the 1989 film “Field of Dreams”, that starred Kevin Costner. In one of the scene the script went like this:

John Kinsella: “Is this heaven?”

Ray Kinsella: “It’s Iowa.”

John Kinsella: “Iowa? I could have sworn this is heaven.”

Ray Kinsella: “Is there a heaven?”

John Kinsella: “Oh yeah. It’s a place where dreams come true.”

Ray Kinsella: “Maybe this is heaven.”

Now that I moved here and I am living my dreams here in Iowa, maybe this is really heaven.