Adele Thompson - A Team Player, On the Field and In Life

Accounting--that's how Adele Thompson says she got into softball. Wait, how do those numbers add up? The accounting firm she was working for needed a player for their softball team, so she showed up in her best tennis shoes and played. A year or so later another team was forming, and she decided to play. A man named Rick was the coach. After they warmed up, Rick said, "Okay, everyone line up on the pitching rubber and pitch to the plate. The one that comes closest to the plate will be our pitcher." You guessed it, Adele won and thus began her pitching career in softball.

In Adele's words, she was a tomboy growing up, having 5 brothers and 1 sister. Among 24 cousins in a close-knit family, 17 were boys. In high school Adele was a cheerleader, and of course before Title IX her other school sports were limited to P.E. class. In her early married life, she enjoyed water skiing with her family. When her 3 children got older, they would snow ski. The kids would save bottle caps for lift tickets. (Now there are 7 grandkids and 4 great grandkids who all live in the Albuquerque area.) Adele said she really didn't enjoy the heavy ski boots and cumbersome clothing, but the ride downhill was so beautiful, just you and God.

In addition to playing softball, Adele played soccer until recently, not on a senior team but on a recreation team with players aged 18 and older. She also participated in the New Mexico Games, for whom she was the treasurer for 30 years. She ran in the 5K in the Games and also in the Run for the Zoo fund raiser. She said she doesn't enjoy running as much as she likes just walking because you can see more. During Covid, she enjoyed seeing families out together in the parks and on the trails. Even when the malls opened up again, she enjoyed people-watching while walking.

When New Mexico Senior Sports Foundation (NMSSF) needed help with their financial records, who better to ask than Adele, the accountant? So, when she was 57 years old, she finally made the switch from a rec team to a senior women's softball team, under the umbrella of NMSSF. At that time Silver Gloves had 2 teams, the Roadrunners and the Kachinas, but were still playing in the Albuquerque recreation league against 18 year olds and up. One evening, KRQE News featured the Silver Gloves on their sports segment. Among such notable players as the late Edna Worf and our Never-Give-Up-I-Want-To-Play-Softball gal, Garilyn Ulibarri, it was noted that to keep scores accurate, the scorekeeper was an accountant, Adele.

Adele is a world traveler, having been to such places as South Africa, Zimbabwe, Machu Pichu in Peru, and the Galapagos Islands. River cruises allow her to go to the shore and mingle with the locals. She is so interested to learn the history and meet the local people, caring enough to continue sending aid for school children in impoverished countries. In fact, she also volunteers right here in Albuquerque tutoring kindergartners one hour a week and finds her students warm and loving.

She loves traveling and says what makes trips so special is the people you travel with. In 2012, she traveled with 4 softball friends to New England and Nova Scotia. Sharing food and hotel accommodations (all 5 in a room to economize!) with all its inconveniences and hilarities, you really get to know people and form bonds to last a lifetime. After a taste of Ben and Jerry's ice cream in Vermont, Adele led the group in exercises at a rest area and proceeded to loosen up a bit more by throwing the softball around. A passerby remarked that the Boston Red Sox could use their help!

Adele managed and coached the 4 Fun Bunch senior softball team and played through the spring season. When the team was not coming together for the summer season, Adele decided to take a break. I was trying to remember if Adele was still in the 70's bracket or if she had moved into the 75's bracket. You know she never did look her age! She moved up to the 80's bracket this year with a birthday on September 4. Everyone please wish her a happy birthday!

 As a softball player and coach, Adele is a team player. In league play she believes in everyone playing. As a player in a tournament, she doesn't mind taking a seat on the bench to allow someone with better skills to help bring in a win. It's really how she lives her life, too, recognizing and appreciating the diversity of cultures and politics and training and history to make a world of happy people enjoying life and working together for the common good. Adele Thompson is NMSSF's pick for Athlete of the Quarter, truly a team player.

By Lois Gray