As twin brothers, David and Jason Benham shared everything from a young age. From their room, all the way to their dream of playing professional baseball. They did whatever they could to pursue that dream, as did their father and the rest of the family.
“Miracle In Shreveport” is the story of their pursuit of this dream. Every summer on the way to their vacation, they would see the lights of Fair Grounds Field in Shreveport, the home of the Shreveport Captains, a minor league baseball team, and dream of playing there together some day. Their father would always pray with them as they would pass that field, even if he had to wake them, that their dream would one day be realized.
David and Jason take turns telling their story, from their beginnings in Garland, Texas, to their pursuit of their major league careers. They tell of the love for baseball that they inherited from both their father and grandfather. They tell of the lessons that their father would constantly drill into them as they would pursue their dream, reminding them that dreams don’t accomplish themselves but can only be achieved through hard work. Their father was equally interested in his sons becoming the best people and men as he was that they become the best baseball players.
The Benham brothers’ pursuit of their dream was certainly the stuff of storybooks. One would get close and have the wrench thrown in their gears only to be setback from their goal. The other one would take strides towards making a name for himself, and then would find himself coming up against impossible odds. Over and over again, they would almost be able to see and taste their dream when it would retract like a yo-yo, moving once again beyond their reach.
The brothers’ faith is on full display in this book, as is the faith of their father, a pastor and avid pro-life supporter, and the rest of the family. The brothers talk of their father’s constant arrests in his demonstrating against abortion rights. The boys’ commitment to God and their commitment to prayer are highlighted as well. There are times when this commitment to prayer seems a little excessive, pray your prayer, ask for what you want, then wait for it to come true. While that is overly simplistic, there are moments when that’s the way that it feels.
At the same time, the Benham brothers are equally ready to abandon their dream if they feel like that’s what God is calling them to do. Through it all, there is a healthy awareness of the potential of baseball to become an idol, and a real wrestling on display in them both to ensure that it never becomes one. When things don’t go as they would have liked them to go, they are ready to move on to the next thing, but it seems that God continues to bring them back.
As the story moves on, it’s hard not be become engrossed in the story. The boys and their self-deprecating (as well as twin-deprecating) humor have a knack for storytelling. By the end of the book, I think most readers will be rooting for them, hoping that their dream of playing professional baseball together becomes a reality. Just as I did with one of their favorite movies, The Natural, that they make reference to countless times throughout the book, I found myself cheering out loud in the end, experiencing the magic of baseball that has captivated these brothers and countless millions of others since its inception. While there are moments when the story feels repetitive, nothing feels contrived or fake. The genuine faith of these brothers plays a significant part in this story and that faith along with the heartfelt telling of their story makes this book a worthwhile read for young and old alike.
(This review is based upon a copy of this book which was provided free of charge from Booklook Bloggers. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.)