“That one’s for you, Daddy!” yelled Matthew Ryan Emrich, not yet nine, looking to the sky, as he circled the bases with his fist held high. Matthew had just hit his first home run as a member of his Little League team - a grand slam on his “Field of Dreams!”
His father, Mark, had always wanted to be a professional baseball player. He tried out and survived several “cuts,” but never lived his dream - a dream instilled and supported by his father, Chet.
Despite that, Mark continued to play on sandlot teams and taught neighborhood children how to play. When Matthew was born on July 30, 1985, Mark promised himself he would share his dream with his son. By the time Matthew was four, he was hitting a baseball over the neighbor’s roof.
Matthew’s uniform number 7 - was the same as his father’s. He was so pleased that his daddy loved him, as he enjoyed the family tradition. After all, the movie “Field of Dreams,” is not just about base-ball - it’s about fathers and sons and it’s about the strength of a faith!
Sadly, yet with great faith, Mark bravely faced, but lost, a hard-fought battle with cancer. He was 33. The Sunday that Mark died, he had accepted to enter the hospital for “observation only”. The doctors had promised that he could be released to see Matthew’s first game on Monday afternoon.
Family and friends knew that Matthew would play the next day, just as his father would have wished. Little did Matthew know that the promise he had made to his mother, Sherry, that “My first ball will be hit for my daddy,” would be heard by a much higher, ever-present power.
The comment that Matthew’s achievement, “probably knocked his father off the cloud from which he was watching,” sums up the victories of this life for all of us, doesn’t it?