(This story by Jordan Hansen is reprinted with the kind permission of 406mtsports.com)
On a surprisingly chilly July evening in Butte following the Shrine Game, Brant Bremner is talking about his future in teaching.
The Browning standout and future Montana Western Bulldog football player is excited about going to Dillon, with the college sport he is going to play almost an afterthought. It isn’t completely — he’s sweated and bled far too much to not enjoy the fact he is going to play collegiately — but the most important thing to him is the education in educating he will receive.
That, and the fact that he plans to return to Browning to work once he has graduated.
“My community is really important to me. I grew up there ever since I was young and I see what goes on there,” Bremner said. “I want different for my people, my Blackfeet people. So, just me having that chip on my shoulder makes me want to push myself even farther.
“I put in the work so I could get the opportunities so I could give back.”
In some respects, Bremner already has done quite a bit. Over the past few years, Browning has produced a number of excellent football players. Names like Bremner’s and Ethan Running Crane, Derek Loring, James Gilham and CJ Smith are all part of a group of student-athletes who have helped change the culture in Browning.
Not just breaking the years-long winning drought for the Indians in football, but a significant shift in the rest of the school as well. As former Browning football head coach Jerry Racine (now at Hays-Lodgepole) puts it, they have made having dreams and goals cool.
“I can’t say how proud I am enough. Like I swell with pride when I talk about them,” Racine said. “I use them for examples all the time, and that’s just how proud I am of them and how they accepted the challenge and owned the challenge and made Browning a better place, made that school a better place.”
He continued: “They influence not just the ones that are following them, but their peers. They had each other’s back, and I’m just so proud of them for accepting that role and understanding that it’s bigger than them.”
The challenges they have faced are many. Racine estimates that nearly all of the 65 kids who he coached in Browning last fall came from broken homes among other struggles.
Having players like Bremner as role models is huge for the community and could have a long-lasting impact. Even more so if they come back to the Blackfeet Reservation and continue to give of themselves.
“It’s like an unspoken, you don’t have to say anything, the kids know it,” Racine said. “They know they go through stuff; they’ve all seen something. They’ve dealt with something going on in the reservation. Knowing that others made it, even though they’ve been through so much adversity in life, that they too can be successful. So that’s a huge role for Brant and those guys.”
Teaching is certainly one way to do that and for Bremner, coaching is too. After his time with Montana Western, where he will likely play wide receiver, he wants to help the next generation have the same opportunities.
Bremner credits Racine for a lot of that.
“Jerry Racine is my biggest inspiration,” Bremner said. “He’s the one that started with us and he lit the fire that made me want to be a coach. He lit the fire that made me want be a football player, and he lit the fire that made me be a better athlete.”
It might be a few years down the road before he finds his way back to Browning, but when he does there seems to be no doubt he will improve the lives of those around him.
Hoping even more for them than he has and will achieve himself.
“I see kids in the flag football group and they’re like, ‘hey, we want to be like you,’” Bremner said. “And something I always tell them is don’t be like me, be better than me because I want better for them.”