Thames an honorary coach at THS ‘Think Pink’ volleyball match

The Thompson Warriors volleyball squad made Andrea Thames an honorary coach for an Oct. 9 match against Stanhope Elmore that promoted Breast Cancer Awareness. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

The Thompson Warriors volleyball squad made Andrea Thames an honorary coach for an Oct. 9 match against Stanhope Elmore that promoted Breast Cancer Awareness. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Writer

ALABASTER — When the Thompson Warriors volleyball squad took to the floor for its match against Stanhope Elmore on Oct. 9, there was one color that stood out more than the red and black for which THS is known: pink.

With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Warriors took the opportunity to line the gym with pink banners, donning sweatbands in the color and recognizing those who had breast cancer as well as those who had survived the disease.

Thompson also made space on the bench for a special “guest” coach. Andrea Thames, a local club volleyball coach and mother of team member Madison Thames, was invited to come speak to the squad before the match as well as take a seat next to head coach KellyAnne Gandy and assistant Charli Lindley-Hamlin.

Thames said she was humbled by the gesture.

“I feel very special that they thought of me,” she said. “Coach Gandy just wanted to know if I’d be willing to be an honorary coach, and I said ‘Absolutely!’”

Thames, who was diagnosed with Stage II Invasive breast cancer in February, said the first step in trying to treat the illness is a positive but realistic attitude.

“I made peace with this early on,” she said. Having a positive attitude is the only option. I refuse to let this consume my life and my family. It’s made our family stronger.”

Thames said the toughest part is the fatigue that comes with the chemotherapy treatments, but her support group of family and friends ease the difficulties.

“I just wanted to keep rolling with my life,” she said.  “I’ve not been pleasant everyday, but my family’s been patient. The support has been overwhelming.”

Thames, who is originally from Indiana but came south to play collegiate volleyball at the University of Montevallo, said she planned to use her experiences to help others.

“Sure, I’ve got it bad, but others have it worse,” she said. “I don’t know why it happened, but I fully believe everything happens for a reason. If I can help somebody, or have a positive impact on one person, then I’m thankful it happened to me.”