Brothers Tackle Football Dreams While Keeping Their Medicine Close
In 2010, when Tucker was a sophomore and Jerry was a freshman, they bought a house in Coeur d’Alene (population 45,579), with its 93.8 percent white population, according to the 2012 U.S. Census Bureau figures. The boys enrolled at Lake City High School (1,500) and joined a football program with some 80 players.
It wasn’t just a different level of football—everything was different. There were more kids walking down the school halls than the entire population of Worley. They played in stadiums in front of 5,000 fans. The dream of playing in college now hinged on making it in the classroom and the brothers were asked to do far more than anything they had ever experienced.
“I was up for it because it was the only way I was going to get recruited to go play football in college,” Tucker told ICTMN, sitting in the kitchen of their home in Coeur d’Alene. “I was uncomfortable at first going from a school where there’s barely 100 kids to something the size of Lake City. I didn’t know anybody except my brother and a couple of guys from the football team I met during the summer. On the rez everybody knew me. So this was the first time I had to make a name for myself.”
A painting of Debbie hung on the living room wall, featuring two images—one in her dance regalia and another in a uniform she wore during a four-year stint in the U.S. Marines Corp. It was a good representation of the puzzle Tucker and Jerry were trying to piece together.
The one thing the boys did not do was “sell out” their heritage to fit in. Both wear their hair long and braided in the Coeur d’Alene style. They kept their medicine close, wearing their medicine bags under their uniforms.
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