By Wes Moody
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Freshman soccer player Courtney Forte is what you might call a Big 12 legacy.
The Sooner defender grew up in an athletically minded household. Her father Phil played football at Kansas in the 80s and her mother Julie played softball and ran track in high school. Her brother Phillip currently plays basketball at Oklahoma State.
That’s probably why Forte grew up playing any sport she could.
“Growing up we played every sport pretty much,” Courtney said. “I played every one possible.”
That usually meant tagging along to her brother Phillip’s games and practices.
“We just always threw her in there with the boys,” her father Phil said. “When Phillip had soccer practice I’d say Courtney you come along and you just practice with the boys.”
Whether it was basketball, soccer or anything else, the two siblings were always competing.
“Yes, we competed at everything,” Courtney said. “Even if it was like, little flag football we were competing. Ping-Pong, everything.”
That competitive atmosphere could be one reason Forte developed into such a successful athlete.
“All the girls that have an older brother, we’ve all seen that they’re the tough ones,” her father Phil said. “Big brothers, they don’t view her as a girl, they just view her as a little sister and hey, nothing’s going to be easy here.”
Her father always thinks of one particular example of Courtney’s competitive drive. In middle school, her brother Phillip had won the athlete of the year award. To be eligible for the honor you had to play four sports and Courtney had played just basketball and soccer.
“I said Courtney you may not want to do the others it’s no big deal,” her father Phil said. “But oh no, she was determined. Phillip won the award and so she was determined to win the award, and she did.”
“She was actually co-athlete of the year one year and she was upset because Phillip was never “co” athlete.”
Even though they had grown up KU fans, Phillip, now a sophomore, joined Travis Ford’s Cowboys in Stillwater and Courtney eventually fell in love with Oklahoma.
“I think OU fits me,” Courtney said. “My brother committed to OSU and I was getting recruited by OU and it just seemed right once I was here. I am really close with my brother so going somewhere pretty close was nice.”
Even though she is only a freshman, Forte is already a Sooner through and through.
Despite playing at rival schools, the two siblings don’t let Bedlam come between them.
“We kiddingly joke around, OU and OSU, who’s better but it’s just for fun,” Courtney said “I talk to him a lot and we still catch up and everything. I don’t get to talk to him a lot because he is starting his season but I’ll go to his basketball games when I can and he comes to what he can.”
Their close relationship doesn’t mean Forte isn’t getting into the bedlam spirit. Like any good Sooner fan, Forte knows that crimson and orange don’t mix. That can be tough for a parent who has to have both colors in their closet.
“My dad came up here yesterday and he was wearing an OU shirt with orange shoes,” Courtney said. “I was like, you can’t do that.”
“In a joking way, yes it comes up,” Phil said. “Whether Oklahoma is playing a football game or what have you, it comes up. I know they tease each other about that all the time.”
Fortunately for the Forte’s, soccer and basketball don’t overlap very much. That means the family is able to support both Phil and Courtney. That support means a great deal to Courtney.
“Our seasons aren’t at exactly the same time,” Courtney said. “Ours is on the outs and his is just starting up so it’s good that they can go to both.”
For this Big 12 family, the bedlam experience has been a blessing.“As a parent I’ve been blessed. Not a lot of people get to watch one kid not to mention two,” Phil said. “To me, I went to Kansas, and both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were in the Big Eight at that time so it’s neat and I’ve been very blessed to watch all of this.”