THE HARD SCREEN NEWSLETTER | APRIL 2021
WHAT WE CAN LEARN ABOUT PROBLEM-SOLVING FROM SOUTH CAROLINA’S HEARTBREAKING FINAL FOUR LOSS
“If we’re going to be able to execute on both sides of the ball, the score will take care of itself,” Dawn Staley said. “So, we want to work on creating very good habits.”
The Gamecocks came out hot in this year’s tournament and looked especially sharp in their Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight appearances against the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets and the Texas Longhorns, respectively. But the weeds of inconsistency on layups had been growing since last season and carried forward into this one. And in spite of an otherwise well-executed contest, missed layups cost the Gamecocks a trip to the championship game, in gut-wrenching fashion.
”We got a pretty decent, two looks at it, layup, follow up,” Staley said after the game. ”We just came up short. We lost the way we did and it’s heartbreaking.”
The heartbreak, hopefully, will inspire the changes Staley wishes to see next season: well-executed possessions, no matter the advantage on the scoreboard. Of course, the concept of learning from painful lessons transfers far beyond the hardwood, into all aspects of life. And only by eradicating the weeds at their roots, not just chopping them at the soil level, can fundamental change take hold.
Fundamental change takes both time and repetition, and it starts with honest assessment. Only by first recognizing the limitations of weed cutting can one become willing to do the more arduous work of weed pulling. Weed cutting may keep a yard tidy, but the tidiness will be short-lived; the weeds will grow back, and again and again, and we see how this works in all aspects of life.
Last week, we anxiously awaited a verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer who kneeled on George Floyd’s neck for roughly nine minutes, until Floyd drew his last breath. Chauvin committed the…
The April 2021 newsletter includes the rest of this story and:
* The most important story from this year’s NCAA Tournament that no one seems to be talking about
* Key dates of the 2021 WNBA season
* A sticker giveaway
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Tamryn Spruill is an author and freelance journalist covering women’s basketball, with issues of gender, race and sexuality central to her reporting. She has followed the WNBA since its 1996 inception, and she is writing a book about its exciting history through the lens of the passionate, persevering and powerful (80% Black, many LGBTQ+-identifying) women who make the league up (ABRAMS 2022). She is represented by JL Stermer at New Leaf Literary & Media.
Spruill’s bylines include Harper’s BAZAAR, The New York Times, SLAM, ZORA, Teen Vogue, The Athletic and Swish Appeal, where she also has served as editor-in-chief since 2018 when hired as the first woman to hold that position.
She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and Journalism (University of South Carolina) and a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (Goddard College).