Sometimes a movie becomes special and meaningful to us because we can identify with it and somehow find ourselves in it. The movie Stealing Home is one of those for me. The acting is not always good but the underlying coming of age story is so simple and human that it just pulls you in: young love, baseball, tragedy, and friendship.
To me, Stealing Home, is about staying true to yourself, even if it takes those that love you to remind you sometimes. The main character, Billy, plays baseball and is a gifted player but gives it up when his father dies suddenly. Katy, his first love, always reminds him that he is a baseball player. She even gave him a necklace with a baseball on it as a birthday present so that he will never forget. Soon after Billy’s father dies, Katy leaves to get married in Europe. Without Katy, his father, and baseball, he begins drifting through life. It’s suddenly 20 years later and one day he gets a call that Katy has committed suicide. She wills her ashes to Billy because she said he would know what to do with them.
After avoiding life for so long, this is the biggest responsibility he’s had to deal with. The process Billy goes through trying to figure out where Katy’s final resting place should be forces him to revisit his past. It was always Katy who was there to remind him that he was a baseball player. Now, even in death, Katy is there to remind him. Her words echo in Billy’s head. The last time he saw her she told him that she loved him and said, “You’re a ball player. That’s who you are.” Later in the movie, he’s talking to his old baseball buddy, Alan. Billy says to Alan, “When I’m not playing the game, I’m lost.” “Let me tell you something, Alan, the past 14 years I’ve been one lost son of a bitch.”
Billy faces the decision to cop out and just give Katy’s ashes back to her parents to avoid this heavy burden. While he’s visiting Katy’s parents, he sees a poster that reminds him of something Katy said when he was just a kid. He then realizes what he must do. It’s one of those rare moments of clarity that redefine our lives. Like a tidal wave coming to wash everything away and remake the landscape of our lives.
“See, that’s all I really want to do, Billy boy. I want to leap off this pier and fly high in the air and hang out with the wind and drift with the clouds. And at night with the moon full and the sea wild, I’d meet my lover high on a cliff and we’d swoop down into the ocean and swim all the way and touch the bottom, up through the dark water and break the surface. Then, we’d fly to Jamaica for piña coladas. Yeah, I wish I could do that.”
The best movies, like the best myths and fairy tales, have a moral to the story – a lesson or teaching that we can apply to our own lives. The lesson of Stealing Home is to always be true to yourself and to follow your bliss. It also delivers the important message of the real value of friendship and love. Those that love us are always near, even in death, to remind us who we are and who we have the potential to be.