Pause Like Moonlight

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 (public domain – wikimedia)

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 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 on to 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.


16 Comments on “Pause Like Moonlight”

  1. I am working on something that I haven’t been sure is fit for my blog, but (or, perhaps *because*) it’s important to me. It involves dreams, the University of Maryland, and doing the right thing. Usually when it looks like I’d be stealing an idea, I put it on hold. If I do post that, please know that I had no idea you were writing this. Honest engine.

  2. Maybe if you had had the courtesy to choke on a hot dog…

    I love this, btw.

  3. lbwoodgate says:

    I loved that scene in “…Dreams”

    I’m also a big fan of Burt Lancaster too and always have been since he played in “The Crimson Pirate” where he did all of his own stunts.

  4. Debbie says:

    I didn’t realize Moonlight was a real person (though I probably should have!). Thanks for pointing this out. Interesting how our paths through life twist and turn and split, giving us choices which way to go. Sounds like a Robert Frost poem to me.

  5. robincoyle says:

    Wow. Powerful stuff Oma. I kept waiting for your punchline. I like this softer side of you.

  6. planetross says:

    I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me.

  7. […] Pause Like Moonlight ( […]

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