Sunday, July 29, 2012

Asian-American, former Harvard point guard, and not Jeremy Lin

Somewhere between the Giants-Dodgers game and the start of the Summer 2012 Olympics Games in London, I watched an awesome documentary called "No Look Pass". Melissa Johnson, a former member of the Harvard Women's Basketball Team, wrote, directed and produced the film.

The film's primary subject is Emily Tay, a Burmese-American point guard who also played hoops at Harvard University.  Emily was a year behind Jeremy Lin.  Her upbringing is typical of many children of foreign-born parents that come to the United States poor, hoping for a better life for them, but even more so for their children.  The goal for a better life is often achieved, but how they want their children to live that life can be a major source of conflict. Something many of us experience from our own upbringing.

Emily's mother is set on getting Emily married to a wealthy man once she graduates from Harvard.  Emily wants to play professional basketball in Europe and has made this known to her parents repeatedly. What Emily's parents don't know is that she's gay. The documentary takes us through slices of Emily's and Katie's life (Emily's best friend and basketball teammate) during their last years at Harvard and where life takes them after graduation.

As an Asian-American and former height-challenged hoopster with foreign-born parents, I could identify with so much of Emily's life. Except Emily is a much taller, faster, better dribbler, shooter and master of the no-look pass than I could ever be on my best day.

I found the documentary on Showtime through my cable provider's OnDemand service. It was also featured at the San Francisco International Asian Film Festival this past March. I highly recommend this film for any Asian-American, straight or gay, who has played sports at a competitive level.

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