THREE STARS -WHOLESOME
When the dreams of childhood pass us by, we often settle for attainable imitations. Like players who become coaches, or entrepreneurs who become managers, the substitution of our dreams for realism receives the praise of practical people, yet bewilders our souls. Feeling as though a part of ourselves has been abandoned, we continue through life with a stoic determination that keeps our dreams at bay. But sometimes we are given a second chance.
Based on the real life of Jimmy Morris (Dennis Quaid), "The Rookie" explores the unprecedented journey of a middle-aged high school baseball coach fulfilling his childhood dream of becoming a pitcher in the major league.
The symbolism of the film comes from a legend of the founding of Jim
Morris' adopted town of Big Lake, Texas. Long before Morris' father brought Morris to this dry and dusty oil town, two nuns had invested their life savings in the first exploratory oil well. When their priest discovered they could not get their money back, he suggested that they bless the spot with rose petals and dedicate it to Saint Claritas, the patron saint of impossible dreams. This dedication seems to have blessed more than just the oil well. It gave the whole town a sense of being able to dream impossible dreams. Thus, when Morris later encourages his rag-tag team of high school students that they can win the district, they challenge him to try out for the majors if they do.
Though the journey is a fascinating one and we grow to love his family, team and town, the central focus of the film is what happens to Morris. While still a child Morris had dreamed of playing in the majors. But consistently playing in the snow and rain, and throwing so long and hard that he ripped his shoulder apart, the doctors had to take a tendon from his ankle to repair it. Defeated, Morris finished college and became a science teacher and coach. However, neither he nor anyone else knew that his reconstructed shoulder had given him the ability to throw a 98-mile per hour fastball - an ability possessed by only a handful of people in the world.
This truth that our brokenness often becomes the source of our greatest success is a powerful reminder of how dreams can come to be fulfilled. Seldom do we become who we are meant to be without the sorrow of failure or the difficulty of defeat. But dreams are built on such foundations.
Though Morris pitched for only two seasons if major league baseball, his experiences led him to become a motivational speaker and help others achieve their dreams as well. Though the journey is often difficult, the message of "The Rookie" is that the longings of our souls will find their way to fulfillment if we are willing to have faith, take a chance and risk defeat. Perhaps in the journey of life that is the path to ultimate fulfillment.