‘Shocked out of my mind’: Stefonek to have McElroy Complex named in her honorWith nearly 50 years of softball experience, it’s safe to say Kathy Stefonek has enjoyed most of her summers. This one, however, is turning out to be one of the most memorable.
By: By Chris Aarhus, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
With nearly 50 years of softball experience, it’s safe to say Kathy Stefonek has enjoyed most of her summers.
This one, however, is turning out to be one of the most memorable.
After being inducted into the North Dakota Amateur Softball Association’s Hall of Fame in late April, the longtime Jamestown resident will be honored again today when the McElroy Softball Complex will be named after her.
“When (I was told), I went speechless,” Stefonek said. “I was shocked out of my mind. I could not believe this.”
There will be a ceremony in her honor at the complex at 5 p.m. today.
“A guy does their job because it’s the job,” she said. “You don’t do it expecting awards of any kind. Then comes this great big reward.”
The first woman fastpitch softball umpire in the state, Stefonek started her career in 1963. Since then, she’s taken on a significant amount of roles including commissioner, manager, administrator and organizer.
But there was a time when umpiring filled her schedule every night of the week. Once slow-pitch softball took off, she found herself busy all the time.
“It was every night, and every weekend there was a tournament,” Stefonek said. “That’s too much. I cut back. Right now, I only do Tuesday nights.
“We’ve got quite the umpire group right now. If you want a day off, you can have it.”
Stefonek said the relationships she’s built over the years have made her career that much more memorable.
“I consider these softball people my extended family,” Stefonek said. “That’s how close we are. We are very, very close.”
For Stefonek, the hardest thing today might be between handling the 90-degree heat and keeping her emotions in check.
“I’ve even got my speech done and it’s gonna be very, very short,” she joked. “I just hope I can get through it. It’s going to be very emotional. This has been some summer.
“And it’s gonna be hotter than a pistol.”
Sun sports writer Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org