For Love of the Game

  • For Love of the Game
  • Directed by Sam Raimi
  • Starring Kevin Costner and Kelly Preston
  • American cinema, as well as literature, theater and verse have a daunting obstacle to overcome. We have no history; we have no mythology to call our own. Our religion is borrowed and our language the same. Our families all began somewhere else, someplace most of will never see and many of us will never hope to understand. What we do have is baseball.

    It is often said that the players are men playing a boy’s game, but nothing could be further from the truth. Whether it’s little league or the World Series, they are boys acting as men, but never able to actually become men. You do not choose to be baseball player, you are one for as long as you are allowed and then you have to become an adult.

    These boys held all of our dreams and our pride on their shoulders. They were our celebrities and our heroes. They mugged for cameras and dined with presidents. They were part of our cities and towns. They fought for all of us and they played For Love of the Game.

    The cynics want us to believe all that has changed, that the ball players are different today, that it’s no longer about the game. But, they have forgotten what it feels like to hold the ball in their hands, to smell the leather, to feel the bat stroke the ball. The game hasn’t changed and neither have those that play it, only society has changed.

    We no longer sing the praises of our heroes, blindly. We instead strain to see them as villains, as poor role models and as the privileged few that don’t appreciate their gift. It could be blamed on the media, scandal sells, but I find that short-sited. It is closer to us than that. We have no wars to fight, no land to protect and no beliefs that we feel strongly enough about to defend. And that has created an emptiness inside of us. We try to fill that void with jealousy and coldness and regret.

    We no longer feel a part of our communities. The Dodgers left Brooklyn and, now, you are just as likely to pick up your family and leave your hometown. A home that meant something to your Grandparents, towns that they felt like they built. Do you ever feel like you are a part of the building in which you live, do you feel the impact of it’s history? Probably not, because it is as unlikely to have a history as you are to remember yours.

    But for a moment, just sit in that uncomfortable seat and breathe in the smell of peanuts and freshly cut grass; listen to the sound of the ball popping into the catchers mitt and try to recall what that ball felt like in your hand. Try to relive the look in your father’s eyes and try to claim a part of that time, in your life, when it was all For Love of the Game.

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