Last week, me, Mom, Dad and Papa, we all made a special trip to the movies to see Clint Eastwood’s newest movie, Trouble With The Curve. It was my idea to have a Father/Daughter night at the movies. My cousin, Casey, came over to Bam and Papa’s house to keep Bam company while we were out.
Clint had won me over with Gran Torino, so I was excited to see his latest effort. He reminds me so much of Papa, with his gruff ways. Nothing could have prepared me for how poignant and eerily personal this film would feel. While Papa has never been a baseball scout, he is a sports nut and knows baseball trivia like the back of his hand. He was born on the same day as Mickey Mantle (and looks a LOT like him too). How many ballgames has he watched or listened to? Countless thousands. Who played wiffle ball with the grand kids in the backyard? Papa. The movie brilliantly portrayed the special relationship that fathers (and grandfathers) share with baseball and their children. Dad spent hours teaching me how to throw a baseball when I was young. And then he spent years coaching and nurturing my brother’s youth league baseball career. Papa taught my brother to read the box scores when he was tiny and too sick with pneumonia to do anything active. Baseball has been woven into our lives forever.
I got teary-eyed and nervous when Clint’s character is told that he might have macular degeneration. That was hitting way too close to home. Papa struggles with the same disease. Mom and I both patted Papa on the leg when the movie doctor mentioned it. They moved on quickly though to the heart of the film…how the shared love for baseball could restore the damaged love between an estranged father and daughter. You witness the ongoing grief Clint has for his deceased wife. (That scene, with him singing, “You are my sunshine”, has me crying even still.) They reveal his choices and motivations over the care of his daughter. You start to understand why this gruff man has soldiered through everything so stoically and you realize he isn’t heartless or loveless. Best of all, you see him and his daughter have this epiphany; that they shared love after all, that they both suffered, and that they no longer have to because they have each other.
Don’t listen to any lackluster reviews from critics. If you’re not a baseball fan, no worries. I don’t follow major league baseball, but I still enjoyed this movie and found it compelling. It’s more about relationships—how we nurture them, how we neglect them, and how we mend them. And how we do that for ourselves by reaching out and talking. I wish we could have taken the whole family to see it…for the humor, for the tears and for the baseball. I never got too excited about the sport, but I’ll always appreciate how it brings us together.