There are numerous and obvious challenges of coaching a football team where the temperature can reach negative-40 and the sun hibernates for three months at a time.
But the biggest challenge head coach Brian Houston and his staff at Barrow High School face have nothing to do with football. Alcoholism, depression, suicide and domestic violence run rampant in the ultra-remote town of Barrow, Alaska, located on the Arctic Ocean, 300 miles beyond the Arctic Circle.
In Season 3 of its documentary series "Underdogs: Inspiring Stories in High School Football," Sports Illustrated examines Houston and the Barrow Whalers' fight against their environment - literal and otherwise.
“I’m hoping that we can change the culture here,” Houston said. “I think football is an avenue that we can help do that, to get the message out that we don’t have to be number one in depression, we don’t have to be number one in domestic violence, we don’t have to be number one in suicide. There’s hope for us here.”
This is simply outstanding work.