MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- “Mom, make Sandy stop copying me,” could have been a regular whine from Abby Edmison when she was growing up. But fortunately, especially for her parent’s ears, Abby believed that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Abby is now a captain in the Canadian Army, and her younger sister, Sandy, is a lieutenant and they are both at Camp Pendleton competing together for the Canadian Military Women’s Basketball team.
“Sandy’s always looked up to Abby and Abby’s always thought it was terrific to have a younger sister,” said Tammy Edmison, the two women’s mother.
Both sisters competed in swimming and basketball growing up, graduated from the Canadian Royal Military College, and currently serve on active duty as Canadian Army officers.
“She’s always followed in my footsteps and I’ve loved it,” said Abby, a combat engineer when she’s not playing basketball.
Sandy graduated two years after Abby and presently is an electrical and mechanical engineering officer.
“We got a very good education out of the college, so that was the main reason why I joined the military. Now that school’s over and I’m actually in the military, I love it,” said Sandy.
This is the first year that Canada has fielded a women’s basketball team, and they are facing tough competition at the Conseil International Du Sport Militaire (CISM) World Military Women’s Basketball Championship July 25 through July 29 at Camp Pendleton, California.
“We didn’t have a whole lot of girls to choose from to make up our team,” said Abby. “It’s frustrating, but it made the team a lot tighter because you had each other and that was all you had. Winning wasn’t the main goal; it was friendship and supporting each other because there are so few girls on base.”
Recruitment is not the Canadian team’s only challenge. The mission comes first in the Canadian Army, and the basketball players are usually required to work a full duty day, even while preparing for competition.
“We were fortunate to even be able to go to this tournament because there is such a high [operational tempo],” said Sandy.
Support from their parents is plentiful though. Tammy and Ian Edmison flew from their home in Carleton Place, Ontario and surprised their daughters during the tournament.
“We love to see them play together, so we said ‘let’s go on vacation’,” said Tammy.
After the tournament, Abby is scheduled to begin six years of medical school, and Sandy is heading to Sweden next week.
“She actually made the Canadian Forces lifeguard team, so next month she’s going to Sweden to compete in the CISM lifeguard championships,” said Ian.
Though the two sisters’ career paths are beginning to diverge, they will continue to emulate each other in stories of personal achievement and service to their nation.