Before the recent screening of THE SANDLOT at AutoZone Park in Memphis, my friend Jim Walker asked me to speak to a group of young men at PBS (Presbyterian Day School) about where the idea for the story of the movie came from. Here's Jim's publisher's letter from his upcoming issue of 4Memphis magazine:
Forgiveness: A Tool To Rewriting
History Or The Future?
I imagine we have all heard more than once someone making the
statement: “I could never forgive that person.” Even if we have not said
it, if we are truthful, we have thought it. Unfortunately many of us live
our lives under the umbrella of anger because of some condition or
memory of our past.
Last month we announced that 4Memphis was bringing David Mickey
Evans the writer/director/voice of “The Sandlot” to AutoZone Park for a
special screening of the film on the Jumbotron. The Sandlot’s positive
messages about friendship, acceptance and childhood innocence, are
now speaking to their second generation of fans. It was fun to watch
fathers and mothers bring their children to AutoZone Park to share together
this special showing of their beloved movie.
The parents had watched this movie as children many times, but now for the first time
they heard the voice of “The Sandlot” answer important questions i.e.
why he wrote the movie and where the characters we all love came
from. David Mickey Evans was quick to quote Mark Twain in explaining
the characters, saying “None of these boys was any boy I knew, but all
of these boys was every boy I knew.” In fact the boys of his childhood
could not have been more opposite than our friends in “The Sandlot.”
David Mickey Evans shared with the crowd his childhood, growing up
in a poor, multicultural section of Los Angeles. It was a neighborhood
where baseball, football and basketball were played seasonally by the
kids on the street. The other game these neighborhood boys played was
to bully the two boys that didn’t look like them. Evans and his brother
lived daily with emotional harassment and occasionally physical abuse
by the kids of the street. The fun of the neighborhood pick up game
was not theirs to enjoy; it was something to be feared as their childhood
tormentors were all gathered in one place.
The vicious dog in “The Sandlot,” Hercules, and the challenge to retrieve
a ball from over the fence were real, but the conditions in which Evans’
brother had to retrieve the ball were much different. Evans’ brother was
offered the long-awaited opportunity to be a part of the street baseball
game, if only he would retrieve the ball that had been knocked over the
fence. In the end, Evans had to carry his brother home, having been
badly bitten on the leg by Hercules as he attempted to get the ball.
Evans childhood and early adult life were filled with anger and hatred
for the boys of his neighborhood. He
was driven to be successful by his desire
to seek revenge on the boys of his
youth. Like many of us, Evans felt if he
made enough money or had enough
power he could somehow punish the
boys of his neighborhood, even if that
punishment was to only show them
how wrong they had been for not being
his friend. His anger and drive to
be successful did not serve him well
as an adult. He was only allowing the
abuse that had destroyed his childhood to destroy his current life was
In his late twenties, Evans surrendered his anger and decided that he
had to forgive the boys of his youth. He decided to go back in time and
rewrite his childhood and in doing so he would forgive those who had
hurt him and his brother. “The Sandlot” was born. He wrote the kids as
friends and heroes, playing together and overcoming a great obstacle.
He knows nothing of what happened to the boys of his youth. They
didn’t ask for forgiveness. They never sought his friendship. However, in
Evans’ process of forgiveness, he allowed these bullies to become his
friends, and this personal story he wrote for himself has become one
the most loved and watched movies of all time.
He and I discussed in detail his personal journey, and he would tell you
that although he would not wish his childhood on anyone, if he had the
actual ability to go back in time to change it, he would not. It made him
who he is and allowed him to give the world “The Sandlot.” Much like
the Old Testament’s character of Joseph, who was sold into slavery by
his brothers, Evans is able to declare, “What they meant for evil, God
has used for good.”
Forgiveness, the key to Evans’ and Joseph’s success is also the key to
success for the citizens of Memphis. Forgiveness didn’t really change
Evans’ past, it changed the way he dealt with the present, and that
changed his future. The citizens of Memphis shouldn’t forget the past,
but instead should work to forgive the wrongs of the past. Forgiveness
will allow us to live in the present and build for the future.
Letter From the Publisher
Seek the Peace and Prosperity of the City in which I have placed you.
14 / 4Memphis