Alena Coomar was all smiles last Saturday. Her Falcon basketball team had just beat Chiawana to advance to the Tacoma Dome. Nobody on the current Woodinville roster has ever been to State. These players will soon get a taste of the big time and never forget it.
But for Coomar, there was even more meaning. Her older brother Lance played for the Falcons two years ago. His squad was the first Woodinville boys team to ever make it to State.
Alena was at the Tacoma Dome when Lance score 17 points in a win over Kentwood. She cheered him on. She felt happy to live vicariously through him.
“I just remember thinking, ‘Wow, look at these big lights, that’s my brother! He made a three pointer, what a great shot!’” she said.
Her most poignant memory that year came when Woodinville lost to Union to finish fifth.
“Right after their last game we were waiting for them to come out of the locker room for the final time,” Alena said. “It took forever. When they came out they were super upset. It was the senior year for many of them, and they were done. I think it finally set in that they were done. They were in tears, the seniors had all grown up together. But I remember thinking that at least they went out with a bang.”
But times change and life goes on. Lance is now a sophomore at the University of Michigan. Alena is a soft-spoken, hard-working junior forward for the Falcons.
However, something sweet occurred last Saturday. Lance was home for spring break. He was at the game watching his sister play. And Alena was fully aware.
“I always went to his games when I was growing up,” she said. “He was my role model, my big brother. He was up there in the stands today watching me play. Now there’s a little more pressure for me because I want to impress him and do well. But I know he’s always here to support me.”
Lance will also be at the Tacoma Dome this week to see Alena play. The sights and sounds will rekindle his own memories. Here’s what he said to the Woodinville Weekly two years ago:
“As I walk through Woodinville people recognize me and shout out encouragement,” Coomar said. “We’re getting a lot of encouragement from the community. This is the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. I’m cherishing every moment I have. I know that I am running out of games to play, and it just makes me work harder and harder and have more and more fun.”
Now it’s Alena’s turn.