Pause Like MoonlightPosted: January 30, 2013
As the players warmed up, a ball skipped off the rim and made a break for the edge of the basketball court. It rolled toward freedom with an NBA player in pursuit. The ball found a gap in the court-side seats and dropped to the arena floor. The player paused at the edge of the court. He paused like Moonlight.
Moonlight Graham. Most people remember him as a character in the film, Field Of Dreams. But Archibald Graham was a real man, whose life was very similar to the movie’s portrayal.
Graham’s ambition was to play baseball. He made the major leagues, entered one game as a late inning substitute. Moonlight was to be the next at bat when the last out of the game was played. He never appeared in another major league game, never got to bat. He left baseball, got a medical degree from the University Of Maryland and became a small town doctor.
Dr. Graham served as Chisholm, Minnesota’s town doctor for forty-four years. He earned a reputation as a caring and charitable man. A scholarship established in his name still provides for the community he left behind. Still, most folks who recognize the name just know it belongs to a man who was tantalizingly close to his dream
In the film, Moonlight’s spirit receives the opportunity to play against major league competitors. He gets a sacrifice fly in his first at bat. The next day Moonlight’s real moment of truth arrives. He chooses to save the life of a child just outside the baseball field that brought his dream to life. He steps off the field, becomes Doc Graham and saves the girl. But just before he steps off the field, Moonlight pauses, knowing there will be no turning back.
He paused like Moonlight at the edge of the court. I was pretty certain he wouldn’t become a doctor upon his next step, but I didn’t reach for the basketball, just in case. It seems I was right; nothing magical happened. He stepped off the court, palmed the ball and fired it back onto the court.
It was nice to think about it happening though. Maybe this was neither his day, nor his time. It was just time to practice his pause.
I’m an optimist. I think he’ll be ready when his day and time arrive. Most folks are. We pause, like Moonlight, then step toward doing the right thing.