#InspireLSSports| Team USA Basketball Wraps Up Summer Olympics With Gold Medal Victories

It was a clean sweep of the gold for the United States men’s and women’s national basketball squads. Team USA closed out a memorable Summer Olympics in Rio with wins in the tournament finals over the weekend. The American men dodged a few close calls to reach the finale, but put together a complete effort to finish their stay in Rio with a 96-66 victory over Serbia.

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#InspireLSHealth #RealLife | Fighting Fit (Part 2)

It’s now been 10 months since I underwent surgery. If I was to tell you it’s been an easy journey, I would be lying so I’m not going to do that. I will however tell you that it’s been an interesting journey. I always knew that I could do it; yet looking back at myself in photos, it is hard for me to sometimes believe how far I have come.

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#WomenInSport| Leading By Example: Ashley Thomas – Growing The Game

In a world that can seem all too chaotic, athletes find peace in the sports they play, they build lifelong relationships and learn lessons that will apply in everyday life. This is true no matter the age, gender or sport; participating in athletics is a lot more than just playing a game. Although results and mistakes can be frustrating, the lessons learned through the hardships of playing team sports will always stick with you as an athlete. A personal saying I like to tell a person is, “Everyone has a story, and it’s up to that individual to tell his or her story”. We all face adversity at one point or another, we all have success and failures that ultimately make us who we are. This past week I had the pleasure of interviewing Ashley Thomas of the Akron Racers and learned more about her journey to the National Pro Fastpitch.

Thomas Celebrates Extra Base Hit (Phil Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal)

Thomas Celebrates Extra Base Hit (Phil Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal)

In a world that can seem all too chaotic, athletes find peace in the sports they play, they build lifelong relationships and learn lessons that will apply in everyday life. This is true no matter the age, gender or sport; participating in athletics is a lot more than just playing a game. Although results and mistakes can be frustrating, the lessons learned through the hardships of playing team sports will always stick with you as an athlete. A personal saying I like to tell a person is, “Everyone has a story, and it’s up to that individual to tell his or her story”. We all face adversity at one point or another, we all have success and failures that ultimately make us who we are. This past week I had the pleasure of interviewing Ashley Thomas of the Akron Racers and learned more about her journey to the National Pro Fastpitch.

Growing Up

It’s not always easy growing up in a military family, with the traveling and uncertainty of when the next move would come, it can take its toll on families. Ashley, whose dad is in the Navy, experienced this first hand as a young girl, seeing her parents divorce and eventually moved away with her mother. Although a difficult moment in her life, Ashley credits her parents’ support in finding her passion to play softball. After moving around a bit, Ashley’s mom settled in McKinney, Texas just outside of the Dallas area. It was there where Thomas decided to focus more on softball and pursue her passion for the game. “I ended up choosing softball… honestly between softball, basketball and dance it was the one I liked the most… I would rather be outside rolling around in the dirt!” Ashley joked. Determined to play, she would get involved with a local team and eventually find herself on one of Texas’ Elite softball programs the Texas Glory. An organization that has helped propel softball players to the collegiate level, Thomas developed a new goal: Play college softball.

The road wouldn’t be easy for Ashley, as she continued to play her size and physical ability would be brought into question by some of her very own coaches. “Because of me being so small… you will always have those people that are like ‘you are not going to be able to do it, you can’t do it!” These comments would motivate Thomas to work harder to achieve her goal of playing in college. Through the support system in place, including her parents, Ashley would continue to excel at the sport. “I worked really really hard, I tried to work harder than anyone else on the team, put in a lot of extra hours outside of team practices and high school practices… and I had a great high school coach.”

In high school, Thomas was a four-year letter winner for the now legendary Coach Greenway at McKinney High School. She still holds school records in multiple categories for the softball program and credits Greenway for developing her not only as an athlete but also as a person. “As of right now I consider him family!” The two began their careers at McKinney together; Greenway was named head coach while Thomas was a freshman. “He helped me through a lot of things… not only the mental side of the game but life. He gave me books about how to be a good person, how to live your life the right way. To me that was a lot more touching than any skills he taught me in softball.” For the first time in her young career Ashley was given support by a coach not only determined to make her a better player but a better person. When you are told, “you cant!” your whole life, it becomes quite the motivator when someone tells you “you can!” Ashley had quite the support system in place, her stepfather Brandon, encouraged Ashley and her sister achieve their dreams.

Following practice or long days of traveling, Brandon would put in extra practice hours practicing with the girls time that Thomas found important. “He was so supportive with us and put in so many hours practicing with us. I am lucky to have a stepdad like Brandon!” Thomas improved throughout her four years at McKinney, eventually earning a scholarship and committing to play at Arkansas. The people around her have exemplified what it means to lead by example, and Ashley would take that with her in the next part of her journey to College.

inspirels sports 2

The College Process

Again, Thomas would encounter some hardship in her life, during the recruiting process a sudden coaching change would lead her to de-commit from Arkansas and find an opportunity with Georgia Tech. Ashley would reopen the recruiting process and wonder if she would even play college softball. “I was like now I have no where to go… the older and older you get in the recruiting process, it gets a little scarier.” Fortunately Thomas would land at Georgia Tech and continue to elevate her play in one of the nation’s best conferences. In 2013, she was named ACC Player of the year along with All-ACC first team honors. In her senior season, Thomas led the team in batting average, hits, runs and on base percentage. Her stellar year landed her on the 2014 USA Softball Player of the Year Top 50 watch list.

Ashley graduated from Georgia Tech in 2014 with a degree in business administration and was drafted 16th overall in the National Pro Fastpitch college draft and would decide to continue playing professional softball. “I remember watching on the computer… hearing my name, that I was on the Akron Racers… it was the most exciting thing… teared up a little bit!” Although many times in her career Thomas had been told she would not make it, being drafted to play professional softball was the ultimate payback to those who doubted her.
Academy

 

Following her first season with the Racers, Thomas realized the impact she not only had on little girls at the game but the overall growth of the game. Throughout her life Ashley has always bounced around from place to place. After her parents divorced two new siblings were added to the family, with a sister in California and another in Arkansas, Ashley wanted to remain a steady presence for both. After doing some camps and finding the benefit in growing the game to the younger generation and the inspiration of being “closer” to her sisters, Thomas founded AshleyThomasAcademy.com, an online virtual softball academy. “I am always kind of everywhere… so me and my stepdad came up with the idea to have it a virtual thing… where can still stay in contact with the girls I set my roots down with in Hot Springs, and then also help out my other little sisters.” Always determined to help others, Ashley found a way to pursue her passion and increase the growth of girl’s softball everywhere. “For me now is to help the younger generation of softball players, and even the younger generation of women.” The online academy provides video analysis with guided instructions and drills, access to all workouts and hitting drills, and a one on one with Ashley regarding the mental aspects of hitting.

 

 

 

W| By Luis Sánchez                        @Luis_MyW

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#BeautyEssentials| Glowwbox Summer Fruits Edition

This is of course not the first time I have reviewed a beauty box from the superb Glowwbox brand. However, I can say that the quality of the beauty and hair products they offer in their boxes continues to advance. I was extremely excited to un-box this edition. The diverse collection of hair and beauty products were an accumulation of beauty brands I had not used before.

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#InspireLSTravel | Rise of Low-cost Carriers- It’s Just a Start!

Change is inevitable. Like any other industry, aviation industry is also going under a drastic change. For some the change is good and for others it might not be good. But an industry on a whole is experiencing a change which is easily recognized by the people.

In fact, last two decades have played a major role in shaping up today’s aviation industry. Be it widely popular low cost business model widespread in Europe and Asia or the rapid rise of ‘super-hubs’ in the Middle East, all of them are making a serious impact on the sustainability of an industry.

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#InspireLSCareers | #HerFreelanceLife PART: 1 – FREELANCE but NO Work Coming In?

Us freelancers are beautiful creatures that the world DOES need, but man if you are a freelancer then you will definitely know how it goes in this freelancers/contractors life!

I mean yes we all love the freedom (or at least the idea) of choosing how and when we work and whom and how much we work for, BUT on the flip side when freelancing, one month we can be feasting in the top restaurants after a great pay packet and the very next month we can’t even be seen to spare the money to buy a cucumber!  “Preach Crystal” I hear you scream!

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#POTD | Love Your Body

It’s important for a woman to feel good in her clothes. It’s OK to have curves and to work them”
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#InspireLSRelationships| The Groom’s Guide to Planning a Wedding

Even though wedding planning is most often associated with the bride, the groom should also be involved in the planning process. Figuring out all of the details that will surround your big day should be a team effort, and there are certain aspects of the wedding that you will need to focus on as the groom, so keep reading for a short guide to help you get started.What You and Your Groomsmen Will Wear

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