If there is one thing people should know about Shelbretta Ball, it is that she is not a quitter. The doctors might have told her she couldn’t play on the basketball court, but that definitely did not keep her from staying on it. Once declared medically ineligible to play for the University of South Carolina basketball team early on in her freshman year, Ball wasted no time hanging her head. She jumped on the opportunity presented by Coach Dawn Staley to host her own segment on the “Dawn Staley Show”, a show edited and shot by Gamecock Productions.
‘What started as Brett taking a flip camera and reporting on the road trips then became a feature we call “Ballin’ With Brett” once the “Dawn Staley Show” started last season,’ said Marissa Kenney, Assistant Director of Gamecock Productions. The idea of “Ballin’ with Brett” is to feature the staff of the womens’ basketball team and to have Brett interview different members. ‘Her show became a hit right away and when we learned the team was going to NCAA Tournament, we traveled with the team and shot two episodes of “Ballin’ with Brett” daily, including post-game interviews after the big wins over Eastern Michigan and Purdue.’ said Kenney.
“At first, I went into it just to occupy my time and to find a way to stay around the team. Once I started doing it though, people started saying I was good at it and I felt like was good at it. I liked doing it; I enjoyed every shoot that I did and even though I never really thought about doing it before. It really grew on me,” said Ball. Although her switch from playing basketball to reporting about the sport has been far from easy, Ball has managed to remain positive. “The transition was tough because I felt like I was forced out of playing basketball. I didn’t choose to quit, but the aftermath started to be okay and I really started to like it.”
Ball seems to be transferring all of the effort and energy she once utilized on the court to her new position, hosting “Ballin’ With Brett.” Jumping into the world of reporting as a Criminal Justice major left her with a lot to learn. “I felt like I was going in circles and making the same mistakes during my interviews on my show,” said Ball. Instead of letting the hurdles stop her, she became determined to take her new circumstances and improve herself. In the middle of the show’s second season, she sat down with Diana Koval, USC’s assistant media relations director to figure out what she could do in order to be better. She also sought help from the directors at Gamecock Productions. “We coached her for on-camera and this year she's made great improvements by studying her female ESPN and WNBA announcer idols and applying what she discovers to her own reporting,” said Kenney. The changes not only helped the show, but also changed Ball herself.
“It was in the middle of season two when I stopped doing it just to be around basketball and started doing it because it became my passion,” said Ball. From that moment on, she became determined to be the best on-screen reporter she could be. Beginning to see beyond the on-screen sector of the journalism world, Ball sparked an interest in what all it takes to make a show happen. Figuring that learning to edit and work behind the camera would improve her on-screen skills, Ball then joined the Gamecock Productions team. “This year she also showed more interest in how to edit and shoot. It’s something she has no previous knowledge about, but she's a fast learner and grasped Gamecock Production's office workflow easily. We could show her how to do something once or twice and she's able to comprehend it and do it right away on her own,” said Kenney.
Kenney has remained impressed with Ball’s work ethic. Despite all she has gone through, Ball has never once failed to show up humble, positive and ready to work. “Brett is always camera ready - smiling and laughing and chatting with her guest to help ease them for the camera. She's very critical of her on-camera appearance and how she acts on camera, so she's always critiquing and taking notes about how to act, hold the mic etc,” said Kenney.
Although Ball has had several opportunities to give up or not put much effort into her show, she lives by a motto that advises her to do otherwise. “Never let your situation determine your destination. I remember my mom always had us read this attitude quote that says attitude can change your life and life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. That would be my message to anyone, injured or not,” said Ball.
Being a woman of faith, she also relies on her favorite Proverbs verse that encourages even when a person does not understand the 10% of things that happen to them, they must trust God with the other 90% of how they react to it. “Are we going to go into a slump or are we going to help that next person that may fall into our footsteps?” asks Ball.
Her determination and positivity has not been lost on those around her. “Brett's willingness to adapt to change and always take on a new project effects our office in a positive way. All our students and staff know of her medical condition, so to see her take something that was so negative in her life and turn it around to create what could be a potential career for her is an inspiration for us all,” said Kenney.
Ball hopes to help those in similar situations as her own by eventually hosting a show that focuses on injured athletes, giving them a platform to tell their stories. She is even interested in starting off behind the camera or editing, knowing the importance of both jobs.
Look for previous seasons of “Balllin’ With Brett” on gamecocksonline.com. Season 3 will premiere during USC’s next basketball season.
Image Source: Madisyn Kellough
By: Kalyn Oyer
Though our focus here at Carolina is on the glories of fall football season, spring’s arrival doesn’t mark an end to rooting on our Gamecock athletes. Along with spring’s main sport of baseball, USC hosts a whole crew of club sports. Two such teams, men’s rugby and the men’s ultimate frisbee team, are not only accomplished on the field but are making an impression on the Columbia community off the field.
The Ultimate Frisbee team at USC travels across the southeast and has even been all the way out to Colorado to compete in large-scale tournaments throughout the year. They boast a pretty solid record, finishing 7th in the Atlantic Coast division in 2012. The team will be featured this season on the leading ultimate Frisbee site, Sky’d Magazine, and has had a member advance to a spot on the All-Region team. Although they boast an impressive record, the club players don’t just spend time travelling the country and winning games. They focus on two main areas that bring the sport back to Columbia: hosting a local college tournament and hosting an intramural league.
The local college circuit tournament that the USC club team hosts brings local colleges together to focus on the sport and join in friendly competition.
“We want to create a community so every ultimate-loving student can experience what we do: tournaments, camaraderie, glory, defeat, and getting to wear a jersey on your back that means something…we’ve got some pretty sick jerseys too,” says team captain and fourth-year marketing and entrepreneurial management major, Alex Abel.
The team is looking to bring that sense of community back home to the USC campus. As another project, they host an intramural league open to community members, friends and alumni. And as most college league competitions are out of town, this spring, the team plans to host Clemson for a one-night expedition game, bringing the historic rivalry to campus once again.
“As a senior, and speaking for all the other seniors on the team, our goal is to win. You always want to be the best team there ever was, and that would mean getting past quarterfinals in the regional championship. Our main goal is to be the obvious number one source any new student goes to when looking for Ultimate at USC,” explains Abel.
The team wants to involve students and spread awareness about what it is like to be a part of this club sport.
“We really want to get the word out to students of what we are about. The team can be very intense at times, but the more commitment we receive the more depth we will have to help accommodate those that want to train and play for the title and those that just want to have a good time. We want students to know that we are very welcoming and accept all levels of skill and interest. While we do wish to do well in our competitive season, one of our main goals as a club is to help grow the sport we love and share it with our school,” Abel says.
Getting involved is as simple as showing up at practice and introducing yourself.
Men’s League: Gamecock Ultimate
: Mon. & Thurs. 7-9pm @ Strom
: Wed. @ Strom
Pick-up: all throughout the weekend
"Gamecock Ultimate" Facebook page
Tackling, diving to the ground, running up and down the field - what more perfect sport to replace football than rugby? To get your Gamecock fan fix, check out this club team as they strive to qualify for the Southeastern Rugby Championship. The oldest club sport at USC, rugby started in 1967 and has only grown and excelled since.
Rugby players are known to be tough and aggressive on the field, but the team has found a way to give back - participating in multiple philanthropic activities year-round.
The team often participates in sanctioned Relay for Life events, has sold “Cocks against Cancer” wristbands and gone so far as to hold a player auction to raise money. In 2010, the team raised roughly $8,000 for the organization. Since then, the team has continued their strong support to this cause, raising a three-year total of almost $35,000 for the American Cancer Society.
To support rugby within the Columbia community, the USC team works with the South Carolina High School Rugby organization, which was founded by a team alumnus. Men’s rugby seeks to host several matches to local “ruggers,” providing fields, facilities, equipment, referees, and “Man of the Match” awards for outstanding players both on and off the pitch.
Through their Rookie Rugby program, the players aim to promote the sport of rugby to a younger age group. The USC team donates equipment to various Midlands elementary and middle schools to incorporate rugby fundamentals into their PE curriculum. In addition, they have supported numerous promotional events to endorse health and wellness amongst local youth.
“Our investment into Rookie Rugby helps to expose high school students to the game at a young age and prepare them for collegiate play in the future. Additionally, the program for elementary and middle school students helps to give children the option to choose rugby over more popular sports such as football, soccer, or baseball,” says team captain and fourth-year human resource management student, Tim Holkenborg.
The community service doesn’t just end there. The team works to reach out and support other organizations’ philanthropy events. Each year, Carolina Rugby plays in Kappa Kappa Gamma’s annual flag football tournament, participates in the Carolina-Clemson blood-drive and “McHappy Day” for the Ronald McDonald House charity.
With all this service, it’s surprising these players have any time to…well, actually play!
Tues. & Thurs. 7-9 pm @ Strom Rugby Field
: 3/2 @ 1p.m. v. ECU @ Strom Thurmond Field
I can’t say that I’m a huge follower of The Ravens or The 49ers, but I will admit to being a self-proclaimed (kind of crazy) conspiracy theorist with a strong suspicion of corporate greed. My suspicion arose when the power went out after Beyoncé’s performance, which proved that no man or woman can deny that the goddess that is Beyonce still has it. Ask yourself - would the Super Bowl really not be prepared with back up generators for their back up generators? This game is one of the biggest advertising, entertainment, and news events of the year. The power went out for not just a few minutes, but over half an hour!
This leads me to my next observation. After the halftime show, the 49ers miraculously stopped embarrassing themselves and created the movie worthy comeback full of fumbles and quick touchdowns to get 17 points in barely 4 minutes. This all escalated to a nail biting last play, 4th down to goal in the end zone which ended with Crabtree falling a little short (if we’re not taking into account the non-call…but that’s a whole other rant).
After this picked up second half, I began to question if this was a little too good to be true. I know many people were losing their attention spans by halftime when the Ravens had their 21-6 lead. It makes sense; the NFL, advertisers, and corporations sponsoring the game noticed the same thing. Nobody wants to watch an easy-win Super Bowl game, right?
So there’s your conspiracy theory, football edition. The power outage was created to grab people’s attention, because if you're not going to have a memorable game, you might as well have something interesting. The majestic catch up might be inspirational to athletes, coaches, and 49ers fans around the world, but to an outside observer, it just seemed way too much like a Friday Night Lights scenario. We got a more exciting game and big spenders, corporations, and supporters got more bang for their buck.
Who knows if any of this is reasonable or true. I definitely would still like to believe that there’s integrity and honesty in corporate-run sports, but I can't ignore the little voice in my ear saying ‘this is working out way too perfectly’. However, I will leave on a positive note, saying thankfully that game turned out to be as exciting as it was anticipated to be. Staged or not, athletes on both teams didn’t fail to impress; and lets be honest, as shady as Ray Lewis is, we all secretly wanted him to leave with another ring.
Image Source: www.adzag.co
Carolina vs. Clemson. It’s a rivalry almost as old as the ages themselves. Well, no, not really. Just as long as both of the colleges and the game of football have existed. But it sure feels like these two universities were made to butt heads with each other.
The big Thanksgiving football game is just the beginning of it. The Carolina vs. Clemson Blood Drive occurred this past week, as well as the Donate Life Duel and the Tiger Burn held before the football game, along with #28 on the Bucket List: “Visit the Clemson campus wearing a USC shirt.”
There’s no end to the rivalry. It’s almost ingrained in our very lifeblood. We occasionally get crass and crude. We get angry, even bitter. We fight to the very end of that football game tooth and nail. And it’s wonderful. Winning something just isn’t as fun when you don’t have someone who can really compete with you for it.
But this Thanksgiving break I have to go home and deal with this rivalry like I never have before.
I come from a family…of Clemson fans. Yep, a whole bunch of people who wear those garish colors of their own volition. And up until this current year, I was one of them.
I was a staunch supporter of the orange and purple, standing my ground and supporting my team like no other. That’s just how I was brought up. Wearing little cheerleader outfits with the Tiger paw on the front on game days, bright orange ribbons in my hair. I never thought any different.
My sister attended, and received her degree from Clemson. She’s a proud alumni who screams at the TV during football games, especially during this particular showdown, and she also has a bathroom plastered in Tiger paraphernalia..
It was naturally assumed that I would go to Clemson University. And even if it wasn’t Clemson, I don’t think my family ever thought that I would end up at USC of all places. All it took was one campus tour to realize this was the college for me.
I’m not saying that Clemson isn’t a wonderful school, I went to my fair share of summer camps at both institutions, but something never felt right in regards to going to college there - it just wasn’t what I needed.
There were mixed emotions among the family. My mother told me that I had to do what was best for me, my father was begrudging about having to give money to a school that wasn’t Clemson, and my sister…I think she stopped speaking to me for a few days.
USC felt right, felt like home, a feeling no other school initially gave me.
My sister and I are back on speaking terms. She yells at me every time I pick up something even remotely garnet colored for my nephew to wear. I glare at her whenever she says something ironic about eating chicken fingers. I refuse to enter the aforementioned Clemson bathroom and she sneers at every time I wear a “Beat…” t-shirt in her vicinity.
But now…now…I have to face the very worst of the repercussions due to my decision to attend USC: gameday with my sister. Good thing we have a long couch, considering we will be sitting on opposite ends of it, wearing every bit of collegiate wear that we own, eyes glued to the TV, our respective IPods poised to play our school’s fight songs, and armed with Tiger and Cocky stuffed animals to throw at each other with each point gained.
We may have a rivalry, but just like how it brings about great things through donations and drives at both of the schools. Sometimes competition can bring the absolute best of you instead of always the worst.
One thing I do know for sure though…this upcoming gameday?
It’s going to be fun.
Image Source: http://www.independentmail.com/photos/galleries/2010/apr/24/area-players-nfl-draft/29257/
The University of South Carolina is an incredibly diverse school full of different religions, political views, social opinions, and American Idol picks. Try finding two people on this campus who can agree on every single thing.
That’s something that makes USC one of the best. We are diverse and proud of it, and not only that, we learn from our diversity.
This past weekend, I was astounded by the sheer sense of community through campus after the injury of the football team’s running back, Marcus Lattimore.
There was something about this moment: something about every USC student coming together to show Lattimore just how much we cared about our fellow Gamecock. They were prayers sent out about the status of injury in hopes he will return to the field upon recovery, cards signed and sent, and the Birthday & Get Well party on the Horseshoe in front of McKissick.
All of the efforts made me even prouder of the college that I’m attending - for the entire campus populations, from staff to students, to be able to show such a major outpouring of support for a student and player was a great reminder to me, and to everyone, that we’re one big family.
Great cheers towards the Tennessee players right after Lattimore’s injury occurred, as splashes of orange mixed in with garnet surrounded Marcus, giving him immediate support right. It was an excellent show of sportsmanship.
Also, the kind words that were said by Dabo Swinney, head coach of the Clemson football team. Even though we’re rivals with them, at the very end of the day, we’re South Carolina football fans.
Swinney’s admission to Lattimore’s ability as a player and the strong hope that he will return and continue his career also served to remind us that we’re all hoping for the same thing: that Lattimore heals and get back on his feet as quickly as possible.
Not for the team, not the points, not the wins, but for the man himself. Lattimore is a football player, and to be knocked out, yet again, is devastating.
Here’s hoping for Lattimore’s swift healing and to his return to the game!
Image Source: http://blacksportsonline.com/home/2012/10/south-carolina-rb-marcus-lattimore-suffers-serious-leg-injury-vs-tennessee-video/
Stephen Garcia has been dismissed from the football team. Many, like myself, are happy to see him off the field, yet others are saddened by his departure. Regardless of your opinion, one fact remains, and it’s that Connor Shaw has now officially become our starting quarterback.
So the big question is: What will our football team look like from here on out? Gamecock fans have had high expectations for this year’s football season and after the abysmal performance against Auburn, our hopes at another title seemed dashed. But we were rallied one week later in a win over Kentucky led, for the first time, by Connor Shaw.
Now I hear people warn, “It was only Kentucky,” and that Shaw will have to prove himself. This is true; Kentucky is not a team the Gamecocks should have feared, but we lost to Kentucky last year with Garcia. Yes, I know, I wince just typing that sentence, let alone remembering that performance. While we were reeling off an astounding win over No. 1 Alabama (a game none of us will ever forget) everyone was asking themselves— how could we lose?
Again, it’s just Kentucky, but look at the way Shaw played this game. In my opinion he delivered a great performance regardless of our opponent. He seemed to take his time, concentrating on throwing the ball and always knew where his teammates were. He didn’t just make wild passes and hope someone (preferably our team) caught the ball like Garcia did. Shaw was also very good at dodging rival players when he had the ball. He kept his cool where Garcia always seemed to panic.
Overall, I have confidence in Connor Shaw. These next couple of away games will test his skills and abilities while deciding our fate. I think he is very capable of leading us to another championship title and perhaps beyond.
Well, we are at the end of another national championship. Finally. Honestly, this year’s lead-up was perhaps THE most annoying of all time. Besides the fact that my bracket was more embarrassing than Kentucky’s loss (ha-ha), the whole tournament created pissed-off friends and clueless non-basketball fans. Don’t take this the wrong way — I obviously love basketball. But there are a few things I could do without for the next tournament:
But seriously, that’s all we do. Oh yeah, and we beat No. 1 teams. It’s a great day to be a Gamecock.
Screw that — it’s a great year to be a G-cock.
I’m referencing the recent baseball win over Florida, in case you didn’t know … but you should. Again, I honestly wondered if beating a No. 1 team made us No. 1, as we rightfully should be, but it does not.