Lexi Thomas: Christian Athlete to the Core

Episode 189 April 19, 2024 00:22:53
Lexi Thomas: Christian Athlete to the Core
Hustle and Pro - Frisco's Sports Podcast
Lexi Thomas: Christian Athlete to the Core

Apr 19 2024 | 00:22:53

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Hosted By

Kelly Walker

Show Notes

Meet Legacy Christian Academy multi-sport athlete (and then some) Lexi Thomas. She’s about to graduate high school and head west to run track at Pepperdine. Learn about how this grounded-in-faith student athlete centers herself in this episode of Hustle and Pro.

Resources:
Lexi on IG: @lexithomas_5
Legacy Christian Academy: https://www.legacyca.com
Pepperdine University: https://www.pepperdine.edu
Coach Kip: https://braincodecorp.com/sports-psychology-assessments/

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:02] KELLY WALKER: Hi, and welcome to this episode of hustle and pro. I'm your host, Kelly Walker. And today we are here at Legacy Christian Academy with Lexi Thomas. So, Lexi, you are, gosh, multi sport, to say the least. Right. So you have all kinds of things we'll talk about, but track and softball, volleyball, basketball, plus strength and conditioning, marching band, concert band. Right. All these things. You're a very busy girl. [00:00:27] Lexi Thomas: Oh, yeah. [00:00:27] KELLY WALKER: About to graduate, so to say the least. You're very decorated. So now that you're kind of rounding out your senior year and moving on from high school to college, like, you know, what are your. How do you feel? What are your thoughts going into this section of your life? [00:00:42] Lexi Thomas: I'm extremely excited. I just think everything that has led up to this moment has just been so surreal, and, you know, senior year has just been so bittersweet just because I've been filled with so many. Such a great community, and my school has just really, like, it's a hard place to leave just because it's made it so easy. And I'm so grateful for my school for letting me do, like you were saying, multiple sports and being able to be a year round athlete. And so it's really made me love what I do and love being an athlete, and I've never felt burnt out, and so I just love what I'm doing, and I can't wait to continue it for the next four years at Pepperdine. [00:01:18] KELLY WALKER: Cause that does sound like a lot, like, burnout is a thing. And so, was being multi sports, like, important to you or your family as you kind of think through, like, your life as you get older, as an athlete into high school, was that important to you guys? [00:01:31] Lexi Thomas: Yes, ma'am. So I was. It's been a rough journey. Well, not easy journey, I should say, because it's been a lot of nights coming home to my parents saying, like, this just might just be too much or maybe even just, like, starting to tear up a little bit because I feel overwhelmed. But through their support and through my parents love, like, I've been able to truly just love what I do. And, you know, all I say whenever people ask me, like, how do you handle it all? Is I just take it one practice at a time. I just go to the softball or I go to track or whatever I'm about to do, and I just try to stay present. And being a multi sport athlete, I've learned a ton of life lessons very quickly of just how to handle my time management, like, how disciplined I should be on and off the court. I've had coach Kip Watson help me a lot with the mental side of all of it and how to deal with all of it. And so it can be a lot. Yes. But I'm so happy I did it. And I have no regrets about being a multi sport athlete and playing many because I've just met the most amazing girls through all of it, and I've had the best teams to support. [00:02:37] KELLY WALKER: So with all those different sports and all the things that you were able to do through high school, what are some of, like, highlights, really special moments? I mean, I know you've had some big achievements, like winning state and things like that. Right. That may or may not be on your list, but, like, personally, what are some of your biggest moments or favorite moments? [00:02:57] Lexi Thomas: Right. I would actually say go back to the simple answer of just, I've loved the bus rides, and I've loved the quality time with my teammates and just my other coaches. And the first thing that came to mind whenever you said that question was actually a combo that I had with my track coach. One time, whenever I was training for a state meet, it was, like, just me and a couple other kids. But I had a lot of good, quality time with my coach, coach hardage. And basically, we just got into talking about, like, church and, like, what it means to be a student athlete that is a big follower of Christ and just what that looks like. And so those good christian conversations are what I like live for. And so it's just so impactful to see how that goes a long way. And that is what I'm here to do on earth. And so just being able to bring Jesus back to it, whether that be on a bus ride with a teammate or just laughing with my teammates or just having a good time, those are the moments that I'm going to remember most. And not because people always will remember. They won't remember what you do, but they'll remember how you made them feel. And so that's actually something my dad taught me. And so, ever since then, I've just been so into making other people feel like they're valued. And that, you know, mental health can be a big struggle with athletes. And so, like, if I can just help other people, like, through the lessons that I've learned, like, that's my goal on earth, and that's my goal, is to just spread the love of Jesus everywhere. [00:04:22] KELLY WALKER: So I love that. I love that you didn't say, you know, winning homecoming queen or winning state. Like, those are big moments, but they're not like, the connection, the personal connections that you mentioned, do you feel like if you, you know, didn't. Didn't win some of those amazingly cool big moments, like, your experience would have been diminished at all? Those things don't seem to be as important. Right, right. [00:04:45] Lexi Thomas: It might have looked different, but obviously, like, it's just not about those. It's not about me, and it's not about anything that I've achieved, again, because it's just all about being a humble servant and to Christ and so that it has nothing to do about me but all for the glory of God. So, while winning state and doing well in track or whatever sport or homecoming queen is a good thing, I just view them as opportunities to, hey, like, my name is out there now, and now people can see what I'm about and see, like, why I love my life so much and why I love my lifestyle. Because I have Christ and I have, like, the good news and so, like, now I get to share it because people are now seeing this, you know. [00:05:25] KELLY WALKER: What about on the flip side? What are some of the more difficult moments, difficult parts of all this journey so far? [00:05:32] Lexi Thomas: So, obviously, there's a lot of times that will come up, like, maybe just coaches, like, opinions or, like, some of the subjective things that will come up, as in, like, maybe playing time or other things that can just kind of be a blip in the journey, and it's just part of it. But a lot of times, it can hurt an athlete's, like, ego or something like that. So I've had some times in my career where some coach, like, might have thought differently than I was thinking. And so I've had to do a lot of compromise, of, okay, here's your side. Here's my side. Let's find a compromise and let's see where I can work in the sport to be better. And that's definitely not easy as a 15, 1617 year old, but those life lessons are obviously what are important. But sometimes it looks like me coming home to my dad and just being like, I did all I can, and sometimes I'm not succeeding in the sport or it's just not a season of life where I'm on, like, a high on accolades or anything like that.. [00:06:34] KELLY WALKER: EYou know, it's hard when it's someone else'S decision that, like, you know, it's kind of. That part may be out of your control or for whatever reason, you can't just with your hard work and effort, like, something's not clicking all the way. [00:06:45] Lexi Thomas: Yes, ma'am. And obviously, it comes into academics, too. Sometimes it can be. I talk a lot with my teammates of this. Sometimes it can be a really hard day at school or, like, in real life, it'll be, like, a hard day at work, and then you have to go to practice or something, and it can be hard to try to switch your brain into. Okay, I'm no longer in this math test that I just probably did bad on. I'm mode. I'm in this. I need to focus on what I need to do today in practice to become better, what I need to do in practice to focus on the game or the meat that I have coming up and leaving that side of school kind of, like, over there and maybe, like, studying for it later, but being present again, like I said, where you are and just. That's obviously a hard thing to do. That's a hard thing to learn at a young age. [00:07:28] KELLY WALKER: Yeah. Because it can stick with you. Right. Or if you're getting your head, and then if you carry it on to the next piece of your life, and that could suffer, too. So is that part of you mentioned time management and staying present? So are those some of the skills that, like, working with somebody? Like, did you call our coach Kip? Kip. I didn't know if you called her coach like, that. You guys work on together, like, actual tools that you take away and say, okay, put those in practice, and it work, like, on a daily basis. [00:07:58] Lexi Thomas: Yes, ma'am. So one of the big takeaways I actually got from Coach Kip was what meditation looks like. And obviously, we've talked about a hundred other things, but just specifically this. My brain works very quickly. And so whenever I'm in the batter's box in softball, my brain goes too quickly, fast that I'm always early on the ball. So I wasn't a very good hitter for a while just because of this problem. So Coach Kip really taught me how to slow down and slow down my thoughts and how to get in that process of, like, being truly focused on the ball and being truly focused on what it looks like. And so she taught me just a couple ways to meditate and just sit in silence, because I think this day and age, we move so quickly. [00:08:35] Lexi Thomas: And we're just so trained to just be so busy and be so hurried all the time. And so through meditation and through, like, just sitting there in silence or just being able to train my brain, which is what I worked on with her, I've evolved as a hitter. I've evolved as an athlete, and those are the type of things that made me fall in love with sports and being an athlete. [00:08:54] KELLY WALKER: That's cool. Are those, like, pre game type of meditation moments or just, like, a daily routine, or is it, like, game day routine? Yes. Do you have, like, special game day stuff that you do to get yourself ready? [00:09:03] Lexi Thomas: So, yes, I do. I, like, have to meditate. I need to make sure that my brain is. In fact, I was doing that just before this, but I have to. To make sure that my brain is calm and that I can control the pace of my thoughts. And so before I meet, my pre meat looks a little bit different, and this is actually a really fun thing to talk about, so I'm just going to walk you through it. But two nights before, I usually eat a lot of steak because I need to get iron and all of that. Or just two nights before? Two nights before. And then the night before, I try to carb load, so I always have to have chicken fettuccine Alfredo. So that's me getting my carbs and obviously, hydration. But then the day of, right before my race, I have to have a rice Krispie treat and honey. [00:09:47] Lexi Thomas: And then it's. It's not even superstition, as much as I like to think of it as discipline, because I know that while that might affect my performance, at the same time, I don't need it to perform well. [00:09:58] Lexi Thomas: But I do love to have that routine and have that schedule because it gives me full confidence that I can pr and I can control the things that I control, like nutrition. Anything that goes on outside of that effort, I can control that. And so that's. Then that's how I can succeed. So, yes, I do have a routine. [00:10:16] KELLY WALKER: That's a great routine. That's cool. I mean, I see the science behind, like, the iron and this and that, and then Rice Krispie treats threw me off. But now I see them on your table back here. Now I'm like, okay, that makes sense. That's very cool. Okay, so let's talk about, like, non sports related things, because it's important to have balance. You can't just be your athletic self like yourself as a student athlete. Right. Because you have to have other parts of your life. Yes, ma'am. So tell me about, what is it? Student led worship and Bible study and those kinds of things? Are those other priorities in your life, too? Yes, 100%. [00:10:51] Lexi Thomas: That is my first priority is, again, like, my faith is so important to me. In fact, I have my bible right here on my table, like, first, because that is the very first thing. Like, if I'm not right with God, then all else fails. And whenever he's my first priority, everything else falls into line. And so, yes, I try to go out and I try to look for student led worship teams. And luckily, my school legacy has just been so generous for providing, like, things that are accommodating to my faith. And so, you know, there's just all these students who lead Bible studies and worship nights, like, we had one last night, and then, like, Bible studies at lunch, all these different things that constantly woven into your. Constantly opportunities that you can seek out and that you can really pour into your faith if that's given the option. And so I've become very passionate about that over my couple of years just because that's what's really important to me. That's all that matters. [00:11:51] KELLY WALKER: Do you prioritize those times, like, Bible study? And maybe if you're going, I don't know, if you do all that here, that's great. But do you prioritize those scheduled things in your life to where you're not gonna miss this worship or whatever, to where it's, like, a very consistent thing for you? [00:12:08] Lexi Thomas: Yes, ma'am. So, whenever it comes to individual prioritization, I know that I can get in my Bible every morning. Obviously, I'm not perfect, and it's not every single morning. And I try to. And I used to be really good about it, and I am trying again, but my journey looks different depending on what season of life I'm in. And so sometimes I can't make it to those worship nights or something like that because I have a game, which is sad, but I know that I can do the part on my end to control of, like, I could be in my Bible, and I can do my daily routines of the things that I can control. But obviously, to your point, like, I can't make all of it sometimes just because of scheduling. [00:12:46] KELLY WALKER: Yeah. So we talked about, like, your. Your schedule and your load, and so how about, like, expectations? Is that a big, invisible load that you have felt all these years with? I mean, playing for, you know, state championships in these and running at the level you're running at now and then going into the next level? Do you talk about that outwardly and the expectations, like, as a family, and how do you kind of deal with those could be unspoken stressors? [00:13:16] Lexi Thomas: I think the root of that stress is fear of failure. And so over my, like, athletic career, I've definitely become good at responding to failure. And that's just such a big thing that you know, in track, it's like, every day I'm going there knowing that I'm gonna have to work hard, and I'm gonna have to push myself, and it's not gonna feel fun to, like, lose feeling in your legs or feel the lactic acid, you know? And so that's kind of a good response to failure, is like, I'm going into this workout knowing that it's gonna be hard. And so that's kind of an expectation right there of now, I need to know that, and I need to prepare well so that I can ultimately succeed in the end. And so softball and volleyball are the same way. Like, they're games, they're sports. A failure. And so all the time, you know, it's just about, well, whenever that failure does come, which it's. It's, like, inevitable that is going to come. Like, you have to know that. Okay, now I'm just going to respond. I'm going to take that, and I'm going to turn it into adrenaline, and I'm going to go get this next ball, or I'm gonna do everything that I can in my control to go get this next ball or do this next play, or I'm gonna tell my teammates in volleyball, it's like, oh, sorry, I just doubled the ball, or I just made a mistake. But this next play, I'm gonna get you a better set, or I'm gonna do this to help your teammates responding. Yes, exactly. [00:14:36] KELLY WALKER: Yeah. Kind of goes back to earlier, like, don't let it carry on and keep you down. Okay. So did I read this right, that you're in the top 1% in the country of high schoolers for the 400 meters? [00:14:49] Lexi Thomas: Yes. [00:14:50] KELLY WALKER: Okay. That's amazing. So what does that mean? Like, is that. What time is that? Or what is that? How does that work? [00:14:55] Lexi Thomas: So I run a 58 one, which means I'm not exactly sure. I just. I know that it's pretty good, but honestly. [00:15:05] KELLY WALKER: Well, I mean, it must be better than pretty good. Yeah. [00:15:07] Lexi Thomas: Credits to my dad a lot because he's really good about, like, telling me my rankings, telling me my stats. And, you know, you can look that up online, but a lot of times it'll rank you and it'll tell you, like, before your meet. Okay, you're probably seated third, but if you pr. Maybe you could win first or do something like that. And, you know, anybody can have a race, a bad race on any given day. But, yeah, my dad helps me a lot with the statistics side of, you know, figuring out what that looks like. [00:15:36] KELLY WALKER: Especially in track, I feel like that's. That part is so individual, and you. [00:15:40] Lexi Thomas: Have so objective, too. And so it's not like I feel like the recruiting process for track might have been just a little bit easier because my time is objective. And, like, obviously, I can bring different things as an athlete, but, I mean, your time is your time. It's not like you have to send in highlights of me playing volleyball and me having this good play. It's like, okay, you are worth. I mean, you are viewed as a 58 or 50, right? [00:16:03] KELLY WALKER: And I feel like it's so different than the other sports because, like, competition wise, like volleyball and softball, you're playing certain level of competition or team, you know? But, like, track, you're running. It's the same race you'd be running in California or wherever you'd be, right? [00:16:18] Lexi Thomas: 100%. I love talking about that, too. [00:16:20] KELLY WALKER: So when did you know track would be what you do after high school? [00:16:27] Lexi Thomas: Okay, so it was definitely a very late, late process. But, like I said, like, I. My entire high school career, I always just played sports to have fun. I played year round sports because I love competing, I love the drive, and I love my teammates. And that is what has gotten me through everything, is just how really healthy. I've had good relationships that I've had with my teammates. And so over the years, like, junior year, I had this one volleyball coach, coach, coach Lima, he really helped me and said, I think you're a good enough athlete to go play college volleyball. And I was like, that's awesome. I've never heard that before. I remember getting into my car, and I'm like, oh, my gosh, I was just freaking out. [00:17:07] KELLY WALKER: That wasn't, like, your goal, right? [00:17:09] Lexi Thomas: Yeah. I just had no clue. I was just doing it for fun and going back to just trusting in the Lord and letting him take care of whatever, because I never put pressure on me to go play in college. I just did what I did because I loved it. And so then junior year, I started thinking about college volleyball a little bit more. And then track season came around, which obviously comes in the spring. After volleyball, I was like, you know, I really love track. And so then I was like, maybe I have a future in this instead. And so, again, I just stuck to my training. And then I eventually ran a 59, which breaking 60 is a big mark for track athletes, especially in the 400. And so. And that's whenever my dad and my parents were like, you know, I really think you have a shot at this. And so then I just started exploring. And again, I just took it practice by practice, day by day, and let the Lord just lead me where he wanted me. And Pepperdine ultimately became a great option for me. [00:18:05] KELLY WALKER: I mean, Pepperdine, that's a big school and a big name, and I'm sure a great program. I don't know personally their track program, but I doubt it's, you know, below average. So had you thought about, like, the last few years of high school, like, where you wanted to be? Did you want to be close? I mean, you're here in Frisco and live just north of here, right? But, like, moving far away, was that something you wanted to do to have a big experience like that? [00:18:29] Lexi Thomas: I, again, I kept my options open, but I have such a great, like, coaching staff, family school program. Like, I've just had the most amazing high school experience, and I'm super tight with my family and sisters who are in Texas. And so leaving for me was not. I was not. That was, whenever I heard Pepperdine, I was like, I don't want to be far, but I think it's a good thing that it's going to be. Like, it just makes me realize how good of a place that I have here. It makes it even more bittersweet to leave because it's like, I love it here, but this is great. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I need to go out and push myself and seek the discomfort. [00:19:08] KELLY WALKER: I think being open to it, like you said, open to anything is the key, because if you weren't and you were closing, like, I'm only gonna go 3 hours away or whatever, I mean, you might not have found the right place. Any of those places might not have been the right match for you. So now you get to go explore a little bit. [00:19:24] Lexi Thomas: I know, I can't wait. [00:19:24] KELLY WALKER: What are you most excited about as far as not so much track, but, like, life. What do you want to do with your life when you're done with. Maybe when you're done with track or maybe during, whatever, however it works out. [00:19:36] Lexi Thomas: Yes. So to your point, I also didn't think about running collegiately or playing college sports because my entire career or high school career, I've always thought about doing medicine or something in medicine because both of my parents worked at least a part in medicine, and my mom is one of my biggest inspirations of just, she's such a good helper. And so I was like, I want to be just like my mom one day. And so I wanted to go into medicine. But recently, after committing Pepperdine, now I'm thinking more about business and just, like, keeping my options open into going into business. And I love psychology and studying how people make certain decisions. And so right now, the goal is to go to Pepperdine and major in business and minor in psychology. [00:20:17] KELLY WALKER: But I think that when people find something they're interested in, there are ways to combine those things and make a life out of it, even if it's the most, like, a non traditional way, whatever. But, like, you don't have to pick business. You don't have to pick psycho. Like, there's ways to mix your skills and what you're about to go learn to figure out and make it work for you. Yeah, that's very exciting. [00:20:39] Lexi Thomas: And honestly, like, some of the biggest advice that I give underclassmen or anything like that is just to not stress about my college decision, because God will use you wherever you end up going. And, like, it's. It's really hard junior year to, like, be like, okay, I don't. I have this school I want to go to, but I also have this school and feeling there's a ton of different, overwhelming thoughts of, you know, everybody's. [00:21:02] Lexi Thomas: It's like, okay, like, I don't know. I'm just 17, you know, and it gets pretty overwhelming. But God will use you wherever you're at. You know what I mean? And so whether you go to Baylor, Pepperdine, all the other options that I was explaining, I was like, I'm not stressed about it because, like, I know that he already has a plan for me. I know that wherever I end up, even if I don't love it as much as I think I would, I know that he's going to do his plan for me, and maybe I ultimately end up somewhere else. But at least I know that that was a chapter of life that grew me. [00:21:33] KELLY WALKER: But now that you know, it's kind of nice, right? [00:21:35] Lexi Thomas: Yeah. Now the decision's made. It was definitely relieving, and I definitely was very excited to commit, and I was jumping in circles, but, yes. [00:21:42] KELLY WALKER: And today's your signing day. That's why we're here. In front of your table, you pointed out your bible. I love your photos. Look at all that bling back there, your letter jacket. I love it. It's very cool. And you have special people in your life coming by today. I'm sure to congratulate you. So thank you for, like. Well, yes, it is, but thank you for coming or letting me come early and sit down with you and learn more. About you because I had heard from you, heard about you for a while and kind of been watching it, saw you win some things and so I love that it all fell into place. And on your day I get to come. [00:22:14] Lexi Thomas: I had so much fun. I could talk about this forever. [00:22:18] KELLY WALKER: Well, when you're on your next step, come back and we'll see how it all is going. And I love to hear about my guests after, especially my like younger guests after and see what like how it was. What was it different than what you thought and just sort of a recap later so we'll definitely stay in touch and you can come back anytime. This is so fun. [00:22:37] Lexi Thomas: I love this so much. [00:22:38] KELLY WALKER: Thank you. [00:22:38] Lexi Thomas: Thank you. Yes, of course. [00:22:39] KELLY WALKER: And thank you for watching or listening to this episode of Hustle and Pro. Be sure to subscribe on Instagram or YouTube and we'll see you next episode.

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