On the Bench with Byron Higgin

A real ‘Field of Dreams’

The movie, “Field of Dreams,” is so Americana most viewers can recall the time and place they first saw the movie. Kevin Costner and his cast “touched” the hearts of millions of people as they told the story of a man who heard the voice, “Built it and he will come.” It captivated audiences right down to the moment where Costner (Playing the part of Ray Kinsella) meets his diseased father John Kinsella on the field Costner built on his Iowa farm.

Most everyone remembers the line spoken by his father, “Is this Heaven?” Costner replied, “No, it’s Iowa.”

Then there was the famous line, uttered by Costner to his father ... “Do you wanna have a catch?” Like most “Field of Dreams” fans, I was awed by the presence and performance of Dwier Brown, who played John Kinsella (the father) in the movie. So when I had the opportunity to meet Dwier in person, I jumped at the opportunity.

Our staff writer and my friend Scott Thoma told me about it and met us at the gate with tickets to the Willmar Stingers game in hand. What we found when we met Dwier was an incredibly nice man who couldn’t do enough to please his fans. He signed autographs, talked with us, showed me the list of movies he was in — including, “Gettysburg,” took photos with us and spent as much time as he could with us.

He went out on to the field before the Stingers vs. Lacrosse Loggers game to, “Have a Catch,” much to the delight of fans. Scott and I watched him the whole game. He swung a few imaginary bats, whistled a few tunes and even danced a little as he stayed for the entire game to meet and greet fans.

I bought his book, titled, naturally enough, “If You Build It ...” and inside he wrote, “Hey Byron, wanna have a catch?” His book is marvelous, tells the story of his young life, his career, how he got in the Field of Dreams and especially dwells on stories about people who have come up to him and told him how the movie and his part in it helped heal relationships between them and their fathers.

Dwier Brown always wanted to do a part that would help people. He talked about how in most of his movies he “died,” which he said, was what my career was doing — dying!

After praying to God, he promised if he got a meaningful part to “help people.” When he got the part in Field of Dreams, he knew his prayer was answered. He admits that while this movie DID change people’s lives, he didn’t realize it would change his life, too! Dwier Brown is an amazing fellow. And my life is better for having met him.

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