RCL draft

If you build it, he will come”. This line has been heard many times, though some do not know where it comes from. The famous quote comes from the movie, “Field of Dreams”. In this movie a man, named Ray Kinsella, struggles to find redemption for the way he left his relationship with his deceased father. A well loved classic, even those who do not find pleasure in the sport of baseball can appreciate the feel good aspect of the movie and the fact that it is routinely aired on network television further exemplifies the raw emotion this movie can invoke. The movie works as a foreground to display the impact of baseball on American culture while the underlying plot of a boy and his father is played out through the history of the sport and a cross country journey. The movie is a civic artifact for its interpretation of the relationship between a boy and his father, America and baseball, and corporate America and the family farm.

Walking around a neighborhood on a warm summer’s evening, a boy and his father playing catch in the front yard while a dog barks at the ball being thrown is staple in American culture. In, “Field of Dreams”, baseball is what brings Ray Kinsella and his father together, but it also what tears them apart. As the Ray grows older, the all too familiar scene of a dad trying to rectify his failures through his son is played out and young Ray begins to rebel against his father. Having failed to stay in the Major Leagues himself, John Kinsella puts constant pressure on Ray to be a superstar baseball player and ultimately forces him to leave home. Leaving his father is bad enough, but Ray says the worst thing he could think of to his father saying, “I could never respect a man whose hero was a criminal” (in reference to his father’s hero, Shoeless Joe Jackson and the infamous 1919 Black Sox) While this may not have happened to everyone in America, it is a fairly common scenario, enough so that many watching the movie empathize with their own strained relationships and grudges they hold against their imperfect parents. The quest for forgiveness that inevitably comes with age and perspective is all too common. Ray is forced to live with guilt as his father passes before he can seek forgiveness. As they say, “Youth is wasted on the ignorant”. Although this movie is from the late 1980s, it is still significant and is very kairotic in that the new generation of parents that are watching the movie, those with young sons and daughters, can take the lesson learned through Ray Kinsella and remember that forcing their children to be the best at something they do not want to excel at, be it math, music, or even baseball, they will only drive their child away. The best a parent can do is let their child find their own way and support their interest as they do it.

“Field of Dreams” encapsulates the impact of baseball on not just the culture of America, but the identity of America. Baseball is an extension of Americans themselves. America and baseball go hand in hand. The impact of baseball on American culture is indisputable. Generation upon generation of Americans have grown up playing, watching, and or listening to baseball. This movie is important because it seeks to expand upon the notion that baseball is essential to tell the story of America. As America goes, so goes baseball. This sentiment could not be captured and articulated any better than when James Earl Jones, playing a widely famous and provocative writer from the 1960s, Terence Mann says, “Ray. People will come, Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn into your driveway, not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door, as innocent as children, longing for the past. ‘Of course, we won’t mind if you look around,’ you’ll say, ‘It’s only twenty dollars per person.’ And they’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it, for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they’ll walk off to the bleachers and sit in their short sleeves on a perfect afternoon. And find they have reserved seats somewhere along the baselines where they sat when they were children. And cheer their heroes. And they’ll watch the game, and it’ll be as they’d dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick, they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come, Ray. The one constant through all the years Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.” This nostalgia, this longing felt for a bye gone era, is still common in contemporary society.  “Field of Dreams” shows that through baseball, through the memories of childhood, those blissfully carefree days, you were free to run around and have a catch enjoying the warm summer sunshine. Any baseball fan watching this movie immediately empathizes with the sentiment expressed in the quote. For every fan of the game,  they think of their heroes they had when they were a child. They think back to the first professional game they attended, they remember the summer days playing Little League, a pick up game with the kids from the neighborhood, or having a catch with dad while dinner is being made. This nostalgia, this concept, is what the movie is trying to articulate. Baseball and America go hand in hand.

The third reason this movie is still relevant in the ever changing scope of the American sociopolitical culture is the family farm. Agriculture for the longest time was the backbone of America. Americans were proud to be farmers, and most in the country were farmers. Farmers pulled America through some of the toughest times, most obviously, the Great Depression. Most homes in the suburbs today rest on where a farm once was. This film captures the collapse of the farming way of life in the 1980s, by centering the entire story on a little family owned farm in Iowa. Beyond the search for redemption and the cross country journey to find it, Ray Kinsella’s farm is insolvent. What Ray’s wife neglects to tell him whilst he is out to find the meaning behind the mysterious voices, is that the bank is going to take the farm. Hundreds of family farms have become bankrupt since the 1980s, so many in fact that it prompted musician John Mellencamp to pen the song, “Blood on the Scarecrow” which is the true story of his own family farm being taken. Still today American farms are increasingly in danger of becoming bankrupt which is why the University of Iowa wears on their helmet “ANF” which stands for, “America Needs Farmers”. The final thread spun through the narrative of a boy, his father, and baseball, is the quintessentially American profession of being a farmer. Ray had never been a farmer, he grew up in a city. The only reason he took it up is because his wife was from Iowa. Yet, this story would not have been authentically American if it did not center around the family farm. The bank closing in on the farm towards the climax of the movie only furthers the point that America is changing. The family farm, and all the values it stood for: good, honest, hard work, pride in your work, a loyal family man- all these things are being eroded away from American society. Only after Terence Brown gives his dead on interpretation of baseball as an engine that runs in the background of America does everyone stop and take a deep breath and put everything into perspective. The struggle between the bank and the family farm is still relevant today as many farms fall to bankruptcy and the government keeps passing bills to help subsidize farms. The most detrimental policy that keeps coming into question in Congress is the increase of the inheritance tax. While it is true that it only taxes wealth over several million dollars, farmland is so valuable it is generally appraised at millions of dollars. Should these owners of land die and try to leave their kids the land they toiled over for generations, a higher inheritance tax would render that impossible as there is no way the kids would be able to tender the large sum owed to the government and the banks would be forced to take the farm. All this fear and angst felt over potentially losing the farm is delicately played out on screen.

The movie, “Field of Dreams”, has routinely left those watching with a warm feeling the final credits roll. While the movie is no longer considered new, it is still relevant in today’s world for the messages it has. The movie is a civic artifact because still today it is relevant in the relationships between a boy and his father, baseball and America, and corporate America and the family farm.


One of the central conflicts Adarrio faces is whether or not she is doing the right thing. She knows most women her age are not seeking a death defying, cut throat, action packed job like she is. Instead they are settling down and beginning to raise families. Throughout her journeys back to the Middle East she contemplates whether she too should begin settling down. Her job has already cost her one love in her life, and if she continues forward with this work it may cost her another shot at love, this time with Paul. While on the front lines, her close companion and chief empathizer, Elizabeth increasingly feels the signs of pregnancy. Adarrio goes home to her boyfriend Paul, yet Elizabeth stays and the guilt Addarrio feels that she too is not out there leads her to come back to the Middle East, well stocked with stuff that Elizabeth will need. This passage is ver relatable because in life, there comes a time in most people’s lives where they must choose between work and the ones they love.

In my life, I had a similar conflict. Just this week, my dog passed away. We knew for a long time that he had cancer, we just did not know when it would be time. I awoke Sunday morning to the text that Monday would be the day. Should I go home and see him one last time or should I stay here and focus on school? Like Addarrio, I chose work and left my dog wondering why he had not seen me in so long. He spent the last few months of his life, a life that had revolved around my family, without me. This is the price that must be paid for future success. We move on and hope that the people we love understand.

Civic Artifact Pitch

Matthew Hladik

RCL Artifact Outline

Mrs. Hamilton

ENGL 137

Thesis: The baseball, as a civic artifact, can be seen as symbolic as a microcosm of America as it enters the decades that many consider to have attributed the loss of innocence in America. Like America, in the early days of the 20th century, baseball was the quintessentially American passion that tied all persons together. The young kids would play in the streets for the sheer fun of the game. As America progressed into the 1960s and 1970s, the strife and angst being displayed in the streets and popular culture were being reflected on the field. As America entered the golden age of the new millennium, the stars of baseball fell to drugs, similar to the drug crisis seen in around the country today.

Introduction: Everyone in this room at some point or another played baseball or softball when they were a kid. Close your eyes and think back to those days. You are standing out in the infield, its a cold March day and the wind is nipping at the hoody you have tucked under your jersey, you can see your parents proudly huddled in the stands rooting you on. From the bench you hear your coach call out, “Get baseball ready!” and you squat down with your glove out, ready to field the ball. You hear the crack of the bat and see the ball rolling towards you. You cannot wait to field it and throw the runner out. As it gets nearer and nearer you get more and more anxious until finally it is upon you and- it goes right through your legs. You can feel the tears welling up in your eyes but something stops you. A phrase keeps reiterating itself over and over again saying, “There’s no crying in baseball. There’s no crying in baseball”. This line was made famous by the movie, “A League of Their Own” and it truly encapsulates the American culture surrounding baseball. The sport is ingrained in American society. Kids play baseball. The baseball as a civic artifact can be taken many ways. As the country has gone through changes, baseball has been right there beside it. Generations upon generations have played baseball and it is a common bond shared by many. From our great-grandparents, to our grandparents, and our parents, baseball, whether they enjoyed the sport or not, has been as an integral part of American culture as the apple pie. [insert thesis]

  1. 1920s-1950s America

a. “America’s Pastime”, the glory days of baseball.

b. Youth playing in the streets. The kids would play with anything they had just to play some semblance of the sport.

c. The influence of baseball on the soldiers in WWII and Korea- The hand grenades were designed to resemble baseballs because, “every American boy should know how to throw a baseball”. If a wounded G.I. was found, he would be quizzed about who won the most recent world series because every American would know that.

II. 1960s-1970s

a. Flag Burning on the Field- On April 25th, 1976, Rick Monday, the centerfielder for the LA Dodgers, prevented a flag from being burned by a fan on the field.

b. “Mrs. Robinson”, by Simon and Garfunkel- The song is written to allude to the perceivable loss of innocence in America as highlighted by the phrase that pays tribute to the class act of the Yankees, Joe DiMaggio by saying, “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?A nation turns its lonely eyes to you. What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson? Joltin’ Joe has left and gone away?”

c. “The Bronx is Burning” Tensions are so high across the country in the summer of 1977 that the racial tensions spill onto the field of the Yankees when a black outfielder and white manager come to verbal blows.

III. 19902-Now

a. Steroid Epidemic- Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds headline stars in the late 90s early 2000s busted for PEDs. The epidemic was so bad that it was bought before Congress.

b. “Baseball may be America’s pastime, but football is America’s passion”

c. Push to “Make Baseball Fun Again”- highlighted by Bryce Harper (baseball’s future superstar) wearing a “Make Baseball Fun Again Hat”.

This chronology will be developed through the eyes of each generation of kids. Every few decades is a new generation.

RCL It’s What I Do 3

After having been told by Gilles Peress that one day her boyfriend would cheat on her, Adarrio finds the emails that bring the foreshadowing to fruition. The scenes thereafter where she struggles with depression and the realization that Uxval had never loved her is especially vivid. Adarrio had loved him so wholly that she had even put her career on hold when it could be reaching new heights. She becomes incredibly depressed as she sees all that she is missing in the Middle East because she could not escape the intoxication of love. This scene is particular vivid and compelling to me because it reminds me of a song by, Kenny Chesney, called, “Being Drunk is a Lot Like Loving You”. Just as the song goes, she loved till she stumbled, and she loved till she fell. When the feeling of love (being drunk) was gone, she was left with the crippling depression (the hangover) and it hurt like hell. Addario makes excellent use of pathos to truly convey how heartbroken she is. Through the use of a flashback, Addario gives the reader insight into the fleeting nostalgia she feels when reminiscing about how great her life once was and she was doing what she loved, chasing stories in South Asia. After Uxval leaves her, she is reduced to being unable to eat anything and sustains herself off water and juice. Most readers can empathize with the feeling of being on top of the world to hitting rock bottom, which just adds to her clever use of pathos. The use of flashbacks to evoke pathos could be used in my speech about civic life as I tell an anecdote, so quintessentially American, that most of the members of the audience can relate or share the same emotions regarding said experience.


Addario never seems content to stay in one place. Her passion as a photographer leads her to yearn for adventure and takes her to new and exciting places. She never stays in one place too long and her story about Uxval leaves the reader reminiscing of a time in their life where they thought fleetingly about what might of been. She could have stayed but her passion, her true love, photography is what wins her heart as she decides to not pursue a future with Uxval. The story as whole is an allusion to her life. Everywhere Addario visits, something there touches her deeply, if almost, deeply enough to be considered love. Yet every time something, be it a beautiful town full of vibrant people, or a man named Uxval catches her heart, photography, her true passion wins out. This story is especially poignant to me because of its eerie similarity to a favorite episode of mine in the show, M*A*S*H. Lead character, Hawkeye, encounters his former lover, and still love of his life, yet cannot be her’s because his lover knows she will always be second to his work. Every time this scene plays out on TV I feel the pain of those two hearts being torn and I empathize with the internal agony that Addario must have felt when she chose to pursue photography.

While in my life I have never loved quite as deeply, I can still feel intense emotions when enjoying my passion, Penn State football. Ever since I was a little kid, every Saturday morning I would watch the Nittany Lions with my dad and twin brother. As I became older, and more aware of the game, I began to live and die with the team’s results each week. I still remember playing travel soccer and rushing home from the morning games to watch them take the field. If we had an away game, we would duck into a sports bar somewhere for “lunch”. These are some of my fondest memories and with this as my passion, I intend to keep a weekly blog of the happenings in Penn State football-their most recent game, with a recap- and any other games of note that have an impact on the Nittany Lions and their season.