Simple yet powerful words: “modest, courageous, passionate, analytical, humble.” These are the words Eriksen and Soren Dickens repeat as they speak of their late father, Mark Dickens.
This Thursday, Dec. 29 at 7:30 p.m. the brother duo will present their first full length documentary film, “His Legacy: The Rise, Ride And Last Stand of the Oakdale Colts.” The film will be shown free of charge at the Gene Bianchi Community Center. Doors will open at 7 p.m.
“The target audience is the people who knew him and knew our story,” story developer and oldest brother Eriksen said of the documentary.
“It’s something that was on my heart,” he added of the film, “and I wanted to let people know. How it all panned out is like a Cinderella story.”
The ‘story’, Eriksen speaks of is his father’s vision in 2004, to develop and build the Colts, an Oakdale travel baseball team to prepare them for Oakdale High School baseball.
“Everyone says (in the film) his character shaped them to who they are today,” Eriksen said.
In April 2009, the well-known Oakdale baseball coach lost his life to cancer. Eriksen and Soren were 14 and 12 at the time of their father’s passing; too young to be so close to death. Too young to watch a loved one battle such a disease, yet they did.
Now, seven years later, they have documented the journey of the young men who began their baseball careers at the hands of their father and how it has transcended time.
“How it all ended and how it turned out, as a creative person, I just saw that as a real life story that could be impactful,” Eriksen said.
The Dickens brother’s work first became popular earlier this fall with the release of the short film O.K.G. - Oakdale Kinda Guy, a 13 minute clip showcasing the Oakdale High School football program, the coaching and community support.
The short however, just like the documentary they are debuting, is about more than a sport. It’s about commitment, work ethic, belief, drive and the impact one person can have on the lives of others.
“My dad used to always say “dynamite comes in small packages,” Eriksen recalled, noting its importance to former OHS baseball player Nick Ippolito.
“He used to tell him that. He’s used that literally as his motto today and he’s still playing in college.”
While they were young at the time of his passing, both brothers recall their father’s passion and commitment to the sport he loved.
“He was always reading new drills and on-line,” Eriksen said. “That’s something I remember vividly.
“He loved the mental game and being a strategist,” he continued. “Baseball’s kind of unique from other sports. It’s not really a brute sport. It’s not a highly active sport. It’s very strategic. He loved that.”
“The whole film, takes you through so many emotions and moments,” Soren said of the project. “This one has a lot of touching moments. It’s really a 10-year journey. Watching video clips of these young boys and then seeing them on film as they are today.”
Both admitted to a bit of apprehension and angst as they prepare to share their vision with the community, adding that they had a special screening for their mother Mila Dickens, which was received well.
“Her reaction reassured us that we did something good,” Soren said.
“He was a man of few words. We’ve kind of become that as well,” Eriksen said of their father. “We don’t really put ourselves out there. He instilled that into us at a young age. He went through hell for a year and a half, but he never stopped fighting.”