Valdosta's Field of Dreams

By: Jason Kahn Email
By: Jason Kahn Email

Valdosta, Georgia - Down a long, windy road in Valdosta is a piece of land that seemingly never ends. On this property, you can find a house with a swimming pool and a basketball hoop.

But four years ago, Jim Bennett added a baseball field to his backyard.

"We started out, prepared the surface, built the backstop and then eventually added outfield fencing," he said.

WIthin weeks, he had a complete diamond, with all the nooks and crannies a baseball fan could appreciate. Although, over the years it has evolved.

A friend proposed the idea while they were at a little league practice watching their sons play. The ball from their side of the field kept rolling onto the softball field where another team was practicing and vice versa.

Bennett didn't have all of the resources to take on such a project, but his friend did. All they needed was Bennett's property. Before he knew it, bulldozers were tearing up his backyard.

"I guess it didn't seem real until we started doing it," Bennett said. "Then I started thinking 'Man, what'd I get myself into?'"

"When he built the ballfield, I told him, if anything comes out of the woods because you built that, the kids and I are gone," said Lori Bennett, his wife.

Lori has lived on the property her entire life. Her parents own it. So you'd have to imagine it took quite a bit of convincing from Jim's part to make this come to fruition.

"Since baseball for us is pretty much year-round, it's a good thing we have it out there," Lori said. "You have to love it because its right here. I can come in, I can cook dinner, go out there and watch my boys play. Sundays we're out there. I just sit in chair and watch them play and practice."

The best part for Jim, though, is watching the reactions of first-time visitors.

"They start to see the field and they start pulling out cell phone cameras and taking pictures and calling people, 'This guy's really got a field in his backyard,'" he said. "But once they get here and it's time to start, it's just like the rec fields. Everybody's trying to win and have fun. And the excitement, you just forget you're in somebody's backyard at that point. That's the way I want it to be."

It's his own field of dreams.

For more on this story, see the video above


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