Nothing beats a heat wave quite like a good old-fashioned baseball movie. Follow these Boys of Summer as they make their way from the sunny Caribbean to the Little League Championships in Williamsport, PA.
Courtesy Tribeca Film/Credit: Keiran Watson-Bonnice
It’s July, it’s hot, and we’re all sweating our way through another New York summer. What will make you cool off a bit? How about a good old-fashioned baseball movie… Director Keith Aumont’s debut feature documentary, Boys of Summer, is now available On Demand via Tribeca Film.
Boys of Summer follows the Little League team from Curaçao -- a small island in the Caribbean off the coast of Venezuela -- on their roller coaster journey from the Caribbean championships all the way to the International Little League Championship, held each year in Williamsport, PA. When we first meet the Curaçao team in 2008, they are on a hot streak, having earned the Caribbean title for the past seven years. As manager Vernon Isabella puts it, he doesn’t feel pressure to win the Caribbean title -- that’s just what they always do; he’s feeling the heat to win it all stateside.
As we meet the boys, we’re first struck by just how young they are. We see them interact with their parents, with each other, and with their coach, the highly dedicated Isabella. They are typical tweens -- teasing, bickering, horsing around -- until it’s time to play, when they mostly buckle down and listen to their coach. As we get to know their families, we start to understand the rich culture of their small island -- Curaçao is home to a population of around 140,000, tiny compared to islands like Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, two of their biggest rivals -- and we see how integral baseball, and this team, is to their life. As Keith Aumont explains, “It takes a village to raise a baseball team.”
Not to be spoiler-y about this, but the boys eventually do win their 8th Caribbean championship, setting them off on the long plane ride to Williamsport. What happens there we will leave to your discovery, but suffice it to say, the road is full of delight, drama, and a few tears.
Given its size, there are an inordinate number (9!) of current MLB players from the island, including Andruw Jones and Jair Jurrjens. So the program has legs, offering some of the boys opportunities beyond most kids' wildest dreams.
We asked Aumont what makes Curaçao baseball so special. He explained: “1) It’s a community effort -- it takes a village to raise a baseball team; it’s the biggest afterschool program on the island. The community makes them feel loved and supported, and they’ve never turned their back on them. And 2) The kids are unflappable. They don’t play to win; they just play to play. I remember when they lost [a particular game], I looked at Juremi [the star of the team] and we were both a little teary-eyed. He said, ‘I just want to play more. And now I can’t.’ I think that says a lot. What 11- or 12-year-old is going to deal with a defeat like that?”
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