ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD
Angels in the Outfield
I may be exposing my conservative bent, but I loved Angels in the Outfield (1994, Walt Disney, PG, $19.99). The movie, about a little boy whose unwavering faith leads a losing baseball team to the pennant, is so trustworthy, there’s nothing in it you wouldn’t want your children to see. One of the boys in the film, little J.P. (Milton Davis Jr.), keeps saying, ”It could happen,” and he’s right. It has! Although I’ve never known angels to get involved specifically in ball games, the letters I receive from kids show that they see angels in all kinds of situations. Parents may refer to them as ”imaginary friends,” but to children, they’re companions who provide a real sense of comfort. Adults who have encountered angels tend to describe them as regular-looking people-like Al (Christopher Lloyd), the head angel in the movie. But children would agree with the young believer Roger (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in his description of ”flying shiny people,” white-robed, with wings and a halo. Watching the video, I was a bit concerned that kids would wonder why there were no angels helping the team’s opponents as well; the point is that Roger asked for help for his team, the California Angels. Most children who have had experiences with angels have asked-almost prayed-for someone to save them during an accident or help them find something. We’re supposed to be one another’s angels, but when human beings aren’t willing to get involved, angels from above step in. I like when Al explains that angels don’t participate in championships. He’s saying that angels are there to give hope, not to interfere with our free will. In the video, the angels are absent during the big game, but they’ve given the players enough confidence to win it on their own. Saying you’ve seen an angel used to sound as preposterous as mentioning a UFO sighting, but people are becoming more willing to believe. I hope that after watching this tape, children will feel comfortable lying in bed like Roger did, watching the stars-the windows of heaven that angels peek through- and asking for divine intervention. It could happen. A
Joan Wester Anderson is the author of Where Angels Walk: True Stories of Heavenly Visitors (Barton & Brett) and An Angel to Watch Over Me: True Stories of Children’s Encounters With Angels (Ballantine).
Angels in the Outfield