Dr. Graham tells Ray, "If I had only had a game." What is the author saying about dreams and wishes?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Doc Graham's role in the novel might be to display that while happiness and a contented life is possible, there might be a few wishes and hopes that still have a hold on us as human beings.  Dr. Graham was beloved in Chisolm, and, by all accounts, has led a happy life as the town doctor.  The town respected him and he understood with his quirks and all that his purpose was to be in the town, his calling identified.  However, this does not remove the fact that there are still some dreams we pine for even when we have satisfied our calling.  For Doc Graham, it was playing baseball.  I don't see him as a person who is torn by this.  Rather,  I think there is a small percentage of his mind and heart that wishes for the opportunity to "have played in a game." While he does not have any regrets about this choice, there is a tinge of nostalgia about his condition of being so close to his dream and never quite being able to accomplish it.  Graham's character reveals two, if not more, elements of dreams.  The first is their tantalizing nature when not accomplished.  To have been on the brink of being called in to play, and then being sent down is something that proves the elusive and sometimes "tease- like" nature of dreams.  The second element proven is that Graham's story about the dream of baseball is the dream that thousands of others have had.  For every Shoeless Joe of Mickey Mantle or Joe Dimaggio, there are millions of others who never were able to step on to a ballfield, get the sign from the manager, stare down a picture, or camp out under a fly ball.  This is the essence of our love of baseball as a nation, as it represents the tantalizingly close vision of our dreams, proving again the "life force" fabric of the game.

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