by Joe Govea

This movie is about 5 high school boys who worked part time as golf caddies living in Del Rio Texas. They loved golf and did not allow their low-income situation to keep them from playing. They even built their own golf course out on an abandoned field so they would have a place to practice and play. They won the State High school golf championship. This movie tells the story of the journey they took to get there. It is about building good character in the face of adversity.  

The Long Game

Golf is a mind game, and it is like life. It requires you to think and make decisions based on the circumstances you are in, and wow are these five high school golfers in one heck of environment full of circumstances.

This movie takes you to the times when America was great for some, again. It opens a can of worms called discrimination that many Mexican Americans lived through in the 50’s and 60’s. Although they witnessed and felt the pain.  It is better left forgotten but no, it was an acceptable way of life back then that people need to be reminded of, so it does not ever happen again.

Chicano, a cool name Mexican Americans like to call themselves back then, was an American who was proud of his Mexican culture and American roots. The name itself says it all. A Chico who is Americano. They walked with pride in a world where the demons of racism were jumping in and out of the minds of people who looked different than them. This even included Mexican Nationals.  The demon’s attempt was to stir up feelings of retaliation and act on them.

You could say this movie shows the phrase, “when they go low, we go high” in action.

The lesson of positive results from being humble is on display in this movie. The message is, we must not allow the demons to win. Young people should learn this lesson as early as possible.

The character of Joe in the movie shows the struggle he faces to be humble. The lesson of hard work and respect for parents by following their rules is bent but not broken in this movie. Joe works on his golf game and competes while still maintaining his responsibilities.   

Joe’s struggle is also the challenge many of the new young Chicanos will also be facing when they get out there in the world. They must learn there is a prize called “respect” given to people who do not let the demons take control. People who earn this type of recognition will get more out of life in all aspects of living. You will recognize this message in the movie.

This movie shows the significant role adults have in helping form young people into people of good character. Mr. Pena, the new school superintendent who was also an avid golfer, recognized the young golfers’ love and dedication to the game. Through his guidance and help from his World War II companion and buddy the head Pro of the Del Rio country Club they formed a high school golf team. History was made when they won the state golf championship in 1956.

Adults also have connections and resources. One such person is shown in the movie. He appears wearing a cage, for driving range ball protection, and is also the ground keeper at the country club. His contribution was God sent.  

Golf is considered a gentleman’s game. It will reveal a person’s character and most always can create friendships that will last a lifetime. This movie shows how this can happen. Yep, it even causes a person’s skin color to disappear and their goodness to shine through.

Peace to all,

Joe Govea, Pan American Golf Association of Fort Worth lifelong member,

“Junior Golf Program” committee member

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