Brother and sister Maxx and Ali Forde of Woodinville have been driven to succeed in athletics since an early age.
WOODINVILLE — Before Maxx Forde became a D-I-caliber football player, he was a child who never wanted to take off his uniform.
Of course, this wasn’t a real uniform — his parents didn’t let him join a team until seventh grade — but he had NFL replicas that modeled those worn by the Seahawks, Redskins and Cowboys on Sundays.
“He would sleep in it,” his mother, Tracey, said. “We couldn’t get him out of it.”
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Before Ali Forde became a standout sophomore on the basketball court, she was a baby who grew up faster than her mother wanted.
“It’s your second kid and you don’t want them to walk right away,” Tracey said. “She started walking at the end of her eighth month. We knew she was totally coordinated.
“It was like the kid skipped the crawling process.”
These days, Maxx is a senior with a verbal commitment to Washington State, who doubles as Woodinville’s big man on the basketball floor. His younger sister is following close behind, a dominant force in hoops and volleyball.
For Tracey, they are not so far removed from the days when Ali would make her big brother and his friends play “College,” a game where the object is to pretend to spend a day in school.
Soon enough, Maxx will actually head off to Pullman, but the siblings are having too much fun this year to think that far ahead.
“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” Maxx said. “It still hasn’t hit me that I’m not going to come back here and play football yet.”
“Now that he’s actually going to college, it’s going to be weird for me,” Ali said. “I’m going to miss him a lot next year.”
As far back as Maxx and Ali can remember, they’ve been competitive. Whether it was on a small plastic hoop as children or a regulation basket as they got older, “We’ve had our battles,” Ali said.
“She never won,” Maxx replied, a smile spread across his face.
There was the time Tracey found Ali running wind sprints on her own in the rain and the days when Maxx would play football in the house with his father, Brian, a former Washington State standout.
Because students at Woodinville start high school as sophomores, this is the only season the siblings will share the spotlight. Maxx doesn’t mind. In fact, he’s so humble and unassuming when he’s not competing, he’s actually happy to shed some of the attention.
“I really don’t need the spotlight, to tell you the truth,” he said. “If I get it, that’s fine. It’s nice to have her around and people talking about her and school and everything. I don’t have to talk about myself as much.”
He might give up the spotlight, but that doesn’t take away from the sibling rivalry. Ali actually received a Division I recruiting letter before Maxx. It was from Houston Baptist. Maxx countered with a letter from Stanford, his first from a Pac-10 school.
All this competition helps the Falcons’ basketball programs. Ali, 15, is a 6-foot forward capable of running the point. She averages more than 15 points for the seventh-ranked team in the state. Maxx, 6-4 and 240 pounds, is the boys team’s second-leading scorer and has helped them to a 9-5 record.
“They both go about it in different ways, but I think they’ve both achieved the same level of success with what they’re doing,” Brian said.
When Maxx graduates in the spring, Ali will continue the family’s growing legacy at Woodinville, while her older brother follows another family tradition by putting on a Cougars uniform.
“Certainly, there are some things I did over there,” said Brian, a Cougars linebacker from 1985-87. “I had some pretty good success over there. I just want him to be his own person and not feel like he has to live up to what his dad did. I think he’ll have his own level of success when he gets over there.”
When Maxx went on his recruiting trip to WSU, Ali tagged along.
“I saw him getting pampered,” she said.
She couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to get the same treatment. With the way she is playing right now, those trips could be in her future. Who knows, maybe she’ll end up in crimson and gray like her big brother.