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Mace & Crown
Volume 31 Number 4, Thursday October 03, 1991

Field of Dreams: Childhood in suburbia

By Joe Turner
Asst. Features editor

prohibited true baseball and softball - something about the possibility of breaking windows). These carried over into the summer and gave way to the after-school football games. In fact, the only sport we didn't play there was basketball; the ball just didn't bounce right on dirt.

"If they play, it will not grow"

It wasn't fancy just functional. The dirt spots known as bases were multi-purpose. First and third bases served as boundary lines for the football field, and second base and home plate served as end zone markers. Yet, once again the owners weren't happy about the groundskeeper's work within the stadium. It seemed they hoped to have a yard similar to the neighbor's; one with healthy green grass growing in it. The only grass I (the groundskeeper) wanted to see was in the infield. So I listened to the voice. Besides, I had to cut the grass, and the voice was right. The more we played, the less the grass grew, and the less the grass grew, the less I had to mow it.

But still, it was a "Field of Dreams". On this field,you could come home from school and become the

neighborhood Pete Rose (the baseball player, not the gambler), Tony Dorsett, Lynn Swann, or "Mean" Joe Greene. As this was the closest most of us would ever get to MLB or the NFL this was our chance to fulfill a dream; if only to have bragging rights to the best catch, pass or tackle of the day. I have to empathize with the Baltimore Orioles' fans. I lost "Turner Stadium" in a similar fashion to their impending loss of Baltimore's Memorial Stadium at the end of the baseball season.

The owner's of "Turner Stadium" sold it almost 5 years ago, opting to move it's sporting team and events to a more modem location.

Much to my chagrin, "Turner Stadium" itself was razed by the new owners in favor of a house addi-tion and an enormous garden.

I often go back to the old neighborhood to visit friends and every time I visit I can stilt hear the voice calling ...

"If they play, it will not grow."

Unfortunately, there is no one listening.

If they play, it will not grow."

Just like in Field of Dreams, this phrase seemed to haunt me, but unlike Ray Kinsella it did not haunt my adulthood. This voice haunted my childhood, helping to create my own "Field of Dreams"

"If they play, it will not grow."

"Turner Stadium" as it was often called, was carved not out of a cornfield, but out of suburban America. You see, "Turner Stadium" was my backyard for 16 wonderful years.

"If they play, it will not grow:" Everyone who has ever lived in a typical subur-ban neighborhood has had that one particular yard where all the children played. My yard was that particular yard. Forget the Astrodome, the Superdome, or the Skydome. My backyard was the best, year-round sports facility. In the spring it played host to kickball and wiffleball games (the owners of the facility