I watched The Sandlot yesterday. It’s become an annual tradition for me, feeling like the perfect Fourth of July movie. It’s not political, nor is it this “look how great america is” type of picture. It’s not deathly serious, it’s just about a group of kids and the game that brought them all together, baseball.
Now, this isn’t to say that I’m a big baseball player, or fan for that matter. I can barely sit through more than a couple innings without getting bored. I played in elementary school, but never touched a ball after that. A fast ball from a pitching machine square in the face will help you decide really quickly whether you want to play sports seriously for the rest of your life or not. My decision was that I didn’t need sport more in my life than in the rare instances where I absolutely had to deal with it. I made it through the PE classes, and the functions with other folks, but I didn’t really enjoy them a ton, minus a few bright spots. I didn’t have a problem with others pursing sports passionately, though; at least until I found out that the sports programs were getting more school money than any other part of the school combined, but that’s another post for another time.
Like I said before, I couldn’t deny anyone else the magic they experienced in the world around them, no matter how they found it. That is perfectly espoused in The Sandlot in the Fourth of July scene.
As the fireworks blare in the night sky, the kids play their one night game that they get to play all year. The narrator, an adult Scotty Smalls, says
We played our best then because, I guess, we all felt like the big leaguers… under the lights of some great stadium.
Benny felt like that all the time. We all knew he was gonna go on to bigger and better games, because every time we stopped to watch the sky on those nights like regular kids, he was there to call us back.
You see, for us, baseball was a game. But for Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez, baseball was life.
There were two kinds of magic in the world conflicting here. We had the magic almost every kid feels when they are around fireworks. When Benny hits his fly ball, their eyes go to the sky, and for them, the game is gone. The explosions that were once their giant light rigs making their night game possible, become what they actually were: blooms of light and color that fill the sky larger than many can imagine. It fills your senses and just leaves you in awe. It’s so incredibly hard to look away. But this was distracting them from the magic that Benny was finding. The magic for him wasn’t in the fireworks, but in the game. In the ball making that distance, in making the move base to base to base, in playing under the big lights for no one in particular but himself and a love for the sport. This is one of those pure magic moments that take place in films where it’s not defined in a world that will be settled, or an awe of battle or some amazing creature or event, but in the simple things, the small things in some cases. It can be hard to remember that at times, that magic can be in the small and simple; but it is always a good thing to remind yourself of such. Go and find some of that magic that is out in the world that you love so much. You deserve that just as much as anyone else that lives on this great planet of ours. Who knows, it could even make the world a bit better in the end.