True Story of Hispanic Team Winning 1957 Golf Championship Hits Big Screen April 12

The film stars Dennis Quaid and highlights the miraculous win of the 1957 Texas state high school golf championship by an unknown group of Latino teens.

By Nancy Flory Published on April 10, 2024

Mucho Mas Media and Bonniedale Entertainment together will release a new film, The Long Game, based on a book by Humberto G. Garcia titled, “Mustang Miracle.” Based on a true story, the film stars Dennis Quaid (The Big Easy, Wyatt Earp), who also produced it, Jay Hernandez (Friday Night Lights, Crazy/Beautiful), and Cheech Marin (Nash Bridges, Cars). The Long Game, a family-friendly PG-rated film, will release to theaters nationwide April 12.

The plot centers on five Hispanic teens from San Felipe High School in South Texas who are caddies at a local golf course, and the two men who recruit them to form a high school golf team to compete against all-white schools in 1955. 

JB Peña (Jay Hernandez) — the school’s superintendent — stumbles on four young men playing golf in the South Texas brush country, and finds them impressive. He cajoles them to join a yet-to-be-formed golf club. A fifth teen is a bit slower in coming around to the idea of golfing for the school, but he eventually gives in. Frank Mitchell (Dennis Quaid) and JB then coach the boys all the way up to the state-championship level. 

However, the boys find themselves at a disadvantage, with no golf course they can use. So they build their own out in the country, using cacti and brush as traps and leveling other other areas to make the greens. Frank and JB coach the young golfers in more than just the game: They teach them to hold their heads high, stand properly, hit the balls correctly, and tuck in their shirts. 

The Underlying Theme — Racism

Much of the film deals with racism, including several scenes depicting white men and women taunting the boys. In one, both the boys and their coaches stop at a restaurant on the way home from a tournament, but the two white workers there refuse to serve them. One of the golfers, Joe, goes outside, grabs some golf balls, and begins hitting them toward the restaurant, breaking its windows in frustration. Throughout the movie, JB and Frank coach Joe to hold his temper because people who bully others are just not worth fighting. In the end, we see his progress as he works through his anger issues.

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“As far as I can tell, it seems to be resonating with everybody, which I think is a testament to [how] our team put together a story that’s just as honest and true as [it] could be,” cowriter and director Julio Quintana told The Stream. “When I screen it for audiences, it doesn’t matter where people fall on the political spectrum, people seem to just agree that this is just an honest portrayal … that this is the right way to approach these issues and these challenges.”

Quintana also said that he did not want to make a divisive film. “[I]t was very important to try to make something that maybe in some way could help remind us of what we have in common and some of the things that bond us rather than divide us.”

Holding Their Heads High

The boys deal with racism and bullying throughout the movie. Even after winning the 1957 Texas State Championship: They received a trophy, but no party, as that had been prepared for one of the all-white teams. Even so, the boys hold their heads high as they walk through the country club and back out into the sunshine. 

Watch the trailer: 

 

Nancy Flory, Ph.D., is a senior editor at The Stream. You can follow her @NancyFlory3, and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.

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