South Side teens bring talent, baseball’s hard lessons to Field of Dreams

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The Chicago White Sox took a page from a Hollywood classic and made the phrase “if you build it, they will come” a reality for teens on the South Side.  

They built White Sox Park for Little Leaguers in the West Pullman neighborhood and started a high-level travel baseball league called the Amateur City Elite or “ACE” program. 

Now some of the best players from the program are part of an All-Star team headed to the real field of dreams in Dyersville, Iowa. They will play a similar team from New York City on the actual field where the move was filmed.  

But to get the Field of Dreams, the team had to learn about failure.  

David Reed is the team’s head coach.  

“It’s a game of failure – it’s the only thing in life where if you succeed three out of ten times, you’ll be the best at it,” he said. “And that’s how life is, it’s not always guaranteed to be on your side.”

That’s the kind of lesson that helps with mental resilience on and off the field, reed said.  

“There’s going to be times where you fail, so if you’re going to fail, fail big,” Kevari Thunderbird, 14, a pitcher on the team said.  “Go down swinging. Don’t ever go down looking.” 

Parents and players say they’re excited to show off South Side baseball on the national stage.  

Derrick Holmes watched his son remembering the movie’s message about how the game brings generations together.

“We actually were in the back yard, throwing the little t-balls. One day he just started hitting it over the fence,” he said. “So I’m like ‘hmmm.’ This just brings you back to that moment when he was younger and playing in the back yard as a kid.”

The game is titled “A Dream Fulfilled” and was be played on at 5 p.m. Thursday.

Derrick Holmes, Jr. is a shortstop on the team.   

“I’m a little nervous,” he said. “It’s on television. But I’m just going to go out there, play how I plan and show the world I can play.”

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