The Red Lake Nation football team hasn't won a game in years, but its coach keeps his kids undefeated
December 5, 2022
RED LAKE, MINN. - The final home game of the season kicks off on the south side of the reservation in a few hours. That gives the football team's head coach just enough time to pick up his daughters at school, drop them at day care and hustle home to finish last-minute arrangements for Senior Night.
Nolan Desjarlait stays in motion to keep his mind from drifting, to live in the moment. Focus on what's in front of you, he says often. The coach preaches this advice to everyone, and the words help him carry the weight of a losing streak that never ends and grief that will never go away.
Desjarlait grew up on the Red Lake Reservation, a star athlete at Red Lake High School. He is now the school's athletic director and coaches three varsity sports. If a game is happening on the reservation, he's there.