Idaho’s Forde sibling duo losing Maxx to graduation
One-half of Idaho’s most well-known sibling sports duo is graduating this fall.
Maxx Forde, a defensive lineman for Idaho’s football team and a favorite among Vandal fans, is graduating after spending five years as a Vandal. His sister, Ali Forde, who plays on both the Idaho volleyball and women’s basketball teams, is going to be the only Forde in a Vandal uniform in 2015.
Maxx was one of only five players from his original recruiting class who was still with the football team this season and graduating this fall. Joining him are Idaho mainstays Mike Marboe, Jesse Davis, Tom Hennessey and Justin Podrabsky.
“I just got good relationships with a lot of people and I think those are things that I’m going to carry on for the rest of my life,” Maxx said. “Especially the class that I came in with … Just being here with those guys for five years I think it’s a special bond. We have gone through a lot of adversity together and we have each other’s backs.”
Maxx is leaving Idaho with a double major from the College of Business and Economics.
“It went well because my parents from a young age always emphasized that school came first,” Maxx said. “If I wasn’t doing well in school, I wasn’t going to be allowed to play sports. That’s something that was always emphasized.”
Maxx’s parents, Tracey and Brian Forde, not only kept him and Ali on track in school, but his dad was also a role model as an athlete. Brian played football at Washington State, where he still holds some school records, before playing professionally with the NFL’s New Orleans Saints.
But even though Maxx’s father played in the NFL, Maxx said he still didn’t think about a long-term future with football while in high school.
“Honestly, it wasn’t something I really thought about during high school,” he said. “I just played for the love of the game. I wasn’t even thinking about college because at that point when I was watching college football, watching USC and guys like that every Saturday, they looked like super heroes. I was like ‘Yeah, I’m pretty good in high school, but those guys are on another level.'”
Maxx finished his career with 20 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks through four seasons at Idaho. He wasn’t always just a football player though. As a youth and teen, he participated in soccer, baseball, wrestling, basketball and football often contributing to four or five separate teams in a given season.
Besides football, Maxx said his other primary sport was basketball — something he shares with Ali.
“We both played basketball in high school so that was always fun,” Ali said. “We had a hoop outside in our front yard for a while and we’d always compete. He’d always win. I blame it on his height and his size, but I got my wins I guess every now and then.”
Ali, a two-time WAC Champion with the women’s basketball team, may have had more collegiate success in terms of wins and losses, but she said she looks up to Maxx as a role model.
“He’s honestly the best big brother I could ever ask for,” she said. “It’s hard sometimes because you want him to do things wrong but he never does. So it’s funny because even when I want to be mad at him I never can because he always does the right thing.”
Ali isn’t the only one to praise Maxx though. Throughout the season, teammates and coaches would praise his efforts, but now he’s on to the next step in his life.
Maxx said he’s going to pursue a shot at playing professionally in the NFL. If that doesn’t work out, he has his double major to fall back on.
His football career at Idaho didn’t end with a favorable win-loss record, but Maxx said he never considered leaving Idaho and is a Vandal for life.
“We haven’t had the win-loss column like we wanted to, but that also is a life lesson,” he said. “It’s not one that you want to learn that way, but it teaches you how to keep fighting even when things aren’t going your way. No matter what, things aren’t always going to go your way in life, there’s going to be tough times. You need to know how to fight and claw through that.”
Stephan Wiebe can be reached at email@example.com