On Los Jets tonight, the episode is called Forward Moves. With the season underway, the team finds itself facing a major roadblock away from the pitch as one of the players is forced to revisit the past as the year comes to a close for the seniors.
At the beginning of Los Jets, the team has hit the bowling alley for a little bit of fun.
“This season has been going by really fast,” said Darwin. The future and graduation is rapidly approaching and in this episode, the team members of Los Jets talk about what their plans for the future will be.
One of the other senior team members, Jonathan Lopez, says he would like to join the Air Force. He is a not citizen though, which could cause lots of problems getting accepted.
One of Los Jets says that he is a citizen, but he thinks it is not fair that some of his friends do not have that to help them out. The team members talk about other possibilities, like college; but, it will be a rough haul for them to be accepted and then make it through college.
“I have been thinking about the Air Force since I was 14,” Jonathan says.
“I have wanted to fly a helicopter, maybe a Black Hawk,” He talks with his parents as he eats supper. He tells them he might train with the Air Force or go to college and become a nurse. His mom likes the idea that he might become a doctor.
He said his grandparents “left him at the age of five.”
Jonathan was seven years old when he crossed into the United States. The coyotes took his and his family’s water Aaway from them, leaving them in the desert to die. He said “At nights in the desert, it gets really cold.” They walked about 8 miles without drinking water.
He is very emotional as he speaks. He says “I didn’t think we would make it out of that desert.”
“After everything I suffered,I came, and here I am,” he says.
Jonathan’s mother says that they “sacrificed everything…everything to come to the United States.”
At Jordan-Matthew High School, the members of Los Jets are working out with weights and exercising. Thoughts of the future are never far from their minds. They also talk about their SAT scores and the colleges that they have applied to.
Then, out on the pitch, Coach Cuadros has a heart-to-heart talk with Cirilo Rangel, the captain of Los Jets. He has been having a difficult time making good enough grades and he has anger issues. “We’re going to have to find a way to turn you around,” the coach tells him. “We’ll have to reboot you.”
Los Jets plays a soccer game that turns into “a contact sport,” in the words of Coach Cuadros. It gets violent, with players getting hurt for no reason.
“The idea here is to control your feelings and play your game,” Coach Cuadros tells the camera. But, that is not how the game is going.
“During this game, the behavior from the players and fans was not good,” Coach Cuadros adds .Cirilo says that the fans were “cussing at us” and saying rude things. Paul Cuadros tells them they should use it as an incentive to score more goals.
Los Jets win the game, with 5 goals. Their coach has taught them not to let the other team and fans to get inside their heads.
Back at the high school, Jonathan speaks to a guidance counselor about joining the Air Force. The lady tells him that he might “have eligibility issues,” and that he will need to fill out a form in order to have the chance to get accepted. He says “I will just have to fight.”
Paul Cuadros then speaks to Latinos in an auditorium at Chapel Hill. He has been instrumental in designing a mentoring program there and he is one of the mentors to help Latino students make it at Chapel Hill. He shows the students a short movie about how difficult it can be, especially if you are not documented. If students are not documented, they are denied in-state tuition and many chances to get scholarships. Raising enough financial aid is often difficult to do, in particular for undocumented Latinos.
“What we say is to come here, we will work you hard, but your children will not have the opportunity to become better than you. For me, that is not our country; that is not America,” Paul Cuadros tells the camera.
Jonathan said that his father was proud that he was a member of the soccer team, but he was really into wrestling. Jonathan is also a member of the wrestling team. In a touching moment, his father, who is wearing a traditional wrestling mask, gives him an identical one, putting it on over his head.
His father tells him that they are alike. He says that Jonathan will have to get good grades to succeed, but that he will support him whatever he decides to do.
That was the end of Los Jets: Forward Moves. Los Jets, executive produced by Jennifer Lopez and her sister, Lynda, is ostensibly a six part docu-series about the Siler City, North Carolina Jordan-Matthew High School team Los Jets and their struggle in 2013 to make it back to the State Championships and win, like they did in 2004. It is a very entertaining series and would be great to watch, if that was all there was to it — but, the show works on many other levels and the creator and director of Los Jets, Mark Landsman, really has brought out social issues like immigration and integration and how the current system is flawed.
Also, Los Jets depicts the efforts of Coach Paul Cuadros, who founded the team and has coached them for 13 years, to help the Latino teenagers out and do whatever is in his power to aid in their success both on and off of the soccer field. The teenagers who make up Los Jets come from the families of immigrants, who sacrificed everything and worked hard to try to give their children a better life than theirs. Viewers get to see the teenagers and their family members up close and personal, in the homes of the teens, their lives playing out in front of cameras there to document the 2013 season.
Los Jets makes for a dramatic and exhilarating viewing experience. It is an example of what true cinematic artistry is all about. Whether viewers originally want to watch Los Jets because it is gritty, is about soccer and is true or because it makes a lot of important points about social issues that need to be reformed — for whatever reason — it is impossible not to be impressed with the series and want to watch each episode to the very end.
Written By Douglas Cobb
(Photo Courtesy NUVOtv)