Updated: Apr 3, 2018
Sometimes, you get lucky and life gives you a person who automatically is your go-to, your inspiration, and the one person who can make you laugh when all you want to do is cry.
Sisters can do just that.
For Emma and Sophia Kramer, the game of basketball has allowed for them to be more than just a sister and a teammate. They've grown into talented young athletes who share a special bond both on-and-off the court.
You could say it was written in the 'stars' for the two siblings to follow in the footsteps of their coach--who also happens to be their mother.
Lani Kramer had the opportunity to mentor both Emma and Sophia, who have played for the Sullivan Stars senior girl’s basketball team together for the past three years.
“It’s difficult sometimes,” said Lani. “We’re a close family. Especially with Emma, it’s hard for her to separate the ‘coach’ and the ‘mom’. So in the coaching aspects, we battle a little bit sometimes.”
Lani began coaching when daughter Emma started playing ball in Grade 8. She’s been with the team for five years now and praises the success her girls have had in the sport that she holds close to her heart, too.
“Emma is a basketball player. That’s her sport. She has developed and improved a ton over the last two years. So she’s become an outside shooter. She’s a two guard. She can take it to the basket. She’s an amazing athlete, so she can jump and rebound like crazy, which I’m most impressed with this year,” she said.
“Sophia is a soccer player. That’s her first love. Obviously being a basketball player myself, I’ve tried to push her to basketball, but she’s had a lot of success on the soccer field. She’s also a very good basketball player. She can handle the ball probably better than anyone in the box.”
Coach has been no stranger to the game of basketball. She played with the SFU Clan as a guard in the glory days of the 1980s.
And now, her eldest daughter will follow in her footsteps.
“I’m very excited that Emma’s playing at SFU. I think it’s a pretty neat situation because […] I don’t think there are any female alumni basketball players whose kids are playing at SFU. Emma’s probably the first. Maybe Emma’s daughter will play and we’ll keep it going,” Lani laughed.
After this season, Emma will be joining the SFU Clan to extend her basketball career and continue the legacy that her mother carved out for her.
“I’m really looking forward to playing on that team. I’ve watched those girls play. I’ve played with a couple of them before,” said Emma. “They play at a level where everybody is supposed to be there. Everyone’s been chosen to be on this team. It’s going to be really challenging for me, especially my first year. But I’m just looking forward to that challenge.”
The oldest Kramer daughter has been ballin’ since she was eight years old. Her undeniable passion for the sport sprouted from her parents, since both of them had played while she was growing up. Her father coached her in soccer. However, that fizzled out after she joined the Steve Nash Youth basketball club.
Emma says her mom is 100 percent her biggest inspiration.
“I’d like to be like her one day and play professionally in Europe. So I kind of aspire to be like her. She’s my biggest motivation,” she said.
What Emma may not realize is that she too inspires those around her—especially her little sister, Sophia.
“To be honest, she’s one of my best friends,” Sophia said of her sister.
“We’re both super competitive and so we compete for literally everything. But that doesn’t make our relationship any weaker. I think we have a pretty good relationship.”
The youngest Kramer has been playing basketball since the second grade, and just like her older sister, she joined the sport thanks to her parents.
Sophia says above all, she trusts Emma as a sister and a teammate. She also admires her level of athleticism.
“She’s very competitive and she’s actually pretty smart,” she snickered. “I would say she’s really driven too. She’s intense. She’s a lot to deal with sometimes, but she’s very nice. And she’s a little sarcastic. But she’s a good person—we have fun.”
The Star sisters have a unique dynamic on the court. It’s almost as though they could read each other’s minds. They set each other up for nearly flawless plays and utilized their strengths to add an undeniable energy to the Sullivan Stars’ team.
Emma admits that her and Sophia clash at times. But despite the rough patches, she holds on to much happier moments with her little sis. Like the time she got her N and the two of them went for their very first drive on the open road (without their parents).
“That was really crazy. We felt pretty grown up doing that. Actually, I felt pretty grown up. She still had to get a ride. I just remember that being my biggest excitement, like, ‘Yes, now I can finally drive around my sister!’” she laughed.
The two have been lucky enough to play ball together, something other siblings may from upon. Yet, the two say if anything, it’s made their relationship much stronger and recommend other siblings to give it a shot, too.
Even mother Kramer says one of her fondest memories of her daughters happened court-side.
“The coolest thing I thought was when Sophia came to Sullivan and joined the junior girls team and Emma was playing and I was coaching them. And our first game where they were out there playing together, it was pretty neat to watch and experience.”
Whether lacing up their Nikes for a game or hopping in the car for a mini road trip to Tim Hortons, the Kramer girls define what it means to be a sister.
“I’d do just about anything for her,” Emma said about Sophia.
“What else are big sisters for?”
Written by: Crystal Scuor