COMMENTARY — Hague, Azzarto and their own ‘Field of Dreams’

Kevin Costner seen here in the 1989 classic ‘Field of Dreams.’ Universal Studios

The “Field of Dreams.” It was 1989. I was a high school freshman when it came out, and for whatever the reason,  I never went to see it. Never saw it on the small screen either. There were several epic lines in that film, too, like, “If you build it, they will come,” and “Go the distance.” 

What sticks out about those two lines so much is because two people who were very dear to me would go on to cite both of them, whether it was in a homily, a reflection, a column about dad.

Those two people were Tony Azzarto, S.J. and Jim Hague. Both were on this planet a few months ago and now both of them are gone. Tony always spoke of how people needed to “Go the distance,” no matter what they were doing. Hague was one of those people to whom he would say this. And Hague always did.

Hague, himself, wrote and often spoke of how much he would give if he could just have one more catch with his dad, who died when Jimmy was way too young — just the way Kevin Costner’s character got to have that one final catch with his dad, who had also died.

I never really thought about those lines until I finally watched the movie this past weekend, on Father’s Day, a day that was often difficult for Hague and one that all about who Azzarto was.

Those two immortals are no longer of body, but remain in mind and in spirit. One was a Dodgers fan, the other a Mets fan. Both made this world such a remarkable place because of their selfless love and dedication to other people.

And though I already miss them both daily, I have to take some solace in this, because there is no doubt in my mind that when Hague got to Heaven last week and met up with Tony, they each had catches with their own dads and then had a catch with each other.

Two people. They built so much and caused people to always come together. Two people. They went the distance. Two people, gone from this earth.

They will never to be forgotten, and are now no doubt playing on their very own Heavenly “Field of Dreams.”

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.