spring, 1970, and 11 year-old Patrick, is about to grow
up in a hurry and watch his life take shape forever.
Patrickís idol, Johnny Spinelli returns from basic
training for three days before heading to Viet Nam.
Patrickís baseball team, the Redskins, are battling for
a championship, while at school he battles with a
vindictive nun trying to survive the final days of sixth
grade. At home, his relationship with his tough-love
styled father suffers due to his problems at school and
his fear of not living up to his fatherís expectations
on the baseball diamond. Johnnyís three days home are
cherished. While Johnny helps solve Patrickís hitting
problems, he teaches him some very important lessons
about life. Before Johnny heads off to Viet Nam he asks
Patrick to keep an eye on 11 year-old Cheryl Fucci;
Patrickís schoolmate, a cute blue-eyed blonde who wears
leg braces and whose older brother, Bobby, has recently
died in Viet Nam. Bobby was Johnnyís best friend and had
asked Johnny to watch over his sister. Patrick
reluctantly agrees. He is a bit shy about being with
Cheryl, and his friendís teasing, causes a strain on
their young relationship.
Things seem to be
on cruise control as the Redskins close in on their
rivals, the Elks. Patrick is playing well and writes
about it to Johnny. Patrick survives his first school
dance, he defends Cheryl by punching out a bully, and
begins to bond with her. In a must win game Patrick
makes a diving catch to win, but injures his arm badly.
The doctors tell him his Little League career is over.
When news from Viet
Nam comes it is bad. Johnny is killed within a week. It
is 11 year-old Cheryl, who has already dealt with her
brotherís death, who keeps Patrick together. With
Johnnyís death and the daily problems he faces with his
nun at school, Patrick loses faith in God and in
himself. When the Elks loose their final game creating a
playoff for the championship, Patrick could care less.
He leads a classroom revolt and his father is summoned
to the school. Patrick listens from down the hall as his
father defends his sonís actions. On the ride home
Patrick realizes the love and support he has always had
from his father.
with Cheryl is strained after she tells him that his
team needs him and that if she had the ability to play
like everyone else she wouldnít waste it. Patrick sees
how Cherylís leg braces have hindered her and is afraid
to permanently damage his arm. She challenges his fears.
After some soul searching he decides to play in the game
without telling his family. When his father notices his
uniform is missing he rushes to the park and spots
Patrick wearing a black armband. He tells his son he has
a lot of class and he can dedicate this game to Johnny.
Patrick tells his father ďIím dedicating it to you,
dad.Ē The game is an up and down battle with Patrick
playing with physical and mental pain before his family
and friends. The Redskins triumph and so does Patrick
whose life has taken shape forever.