Field of Dreams
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
“Is this heaven?”
“No, it’s Iowa.”
This refrain, repeated thousands of times a day in Iowa during the last full week of July, might sound incredulous. But anyone who has ridden the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa will attest to the fact that RAGBRAI does, indeed, serve up moments of bliss and beauty.
Another famous refrain from the Fields of Dreams is “build it and they will come.” In this fanciful movie, an Iowa farmer hears voices telling him to do this, so he converts his cornfield into a well-manicured baseball diamond, complete with lights and bleachers. Listening to voices in his head pays off, as Shoeless Joe Jackson and others from the scandal-ridden 1919 Chicago Black Sox team show up on the field.
Giving Shoeless Joe the chance to play again is only one of the feel-good elements of the lightweight movie. In addition, family members reconcile and several characters get the chance to live out their dreams. It’s all very sweet…too sweet, in fact, unless you love baseball.
Of course, many people do. The actual field used for the film near Dyersville, Iowa, still stands and attracts a reported 65,000 visitors a year. This includes hundreds of cyclists whenever RAGBRAI passes within shooting, er, biking and/or shuttle distance of the field.
The storylines behind the Field of Dreams and RAGBRAI have a few things in common. Both play around with the passage of time and defy the aging process. Both involve personal pilgrimages that help shape the sojourners’ lives. And both are improbable—best appreciated by those who are willing to suspend reality.