A Syracuse Experience: A Day in the Life of a Gameday Worker

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
― Benjamin Franklin

On Saturday, March 3rd, 2018, the Syracuse Men’s Basketball team had their Senior Night and last home game of the season at the Carrier Dome versus Clemson. Prior to attending the game, I met Assistant Athletic Director of Sales and Marketing, Brett Wallace, at an information session arranged by SUNY Cortland’s Sport Management department on February 11th, 2018. The group discussion about the sport industry was very interesting and I wanted to learn more; so I reached out to Brett and inquired about shadowing him.

Veronica sitting behind the official table, shadowing Brett

When I received the okay to shadow Brett, I was very excited to see what his job entails. My dream is to work in a division one institution one day, so the opportunity to shadow Brett helped me feel as if my dream came true.

When I arrived at the Dome, I received my ALL-AREA pass and was escorted by Brett to the staff lunch area to get some refreshments and be introduced to some of his coworkers. Everyone was very welcoming and seemed interested in learning about me, so we exchanged dialogue for a while, and then it was game time!

As I was listening in on everything Brett was saying to his game day staff, I quickly realized that he was the Game Day Director. As I listened to him cue everyone from the DJ, Band, Cheer Team, Dance Team, Advertisements, Timeout Entertainment, etc., he made me feel as if I was watching a Stage Director at work. This is because everything ran so smoothly, that I felt as though they had a prior rehearsal. When I expressed this to him, he said that it is very similar to theater, but there aren’t any rehearsals unless someone is coming to perform and they want to feel out the court.

One thing I complimented Brett on was how he encourages and compliments his staff throughout the game. One feels that this is a great thing to do because it helps your staff become aware that you are aware of their hard work. It simply helps them to feel appreciated.

Paschal Chukwu

While also observing the game, one realized that the game was very close. As we are approaching the end of the second half, the fans began to get pumped up and way more engaged in the calls, plays and etc. With a minute and a half left on the clock, the game was tied at 52; then Chukwu (#13) was fouled by Simms (#25) and was sent to the line to shoot two. As Chukwu made both free throws, the crowd erupted.

Cuse played stellar defense which forced Clemson to commit another foul and get them back to the line shooting two with 3.4 seconds left on the clock. The shooter made one of the two free throws, making it a three-point game.

After the missed free throw, Clemson quickly inbounded the ball and got a shot off, but missed.

Once that occurred, the final score was Syracuse 55, Clemson 52. Both teams played very well because they kept the crowd on their toes. This game could’ve gone either way, but Syracuse fought for that victory. What a great way to end Senior Night!

Syracuse's Coach Jim Boeheim Brett Wallace At the end of the game, I asked Brett “Why is staying on such an anal time schedule so important while directing games?” Brett basically said that it is because of the sponsors; if they miss something such as the introduction of all the players, it is fine, as long as they have time to get the sponsors in. I also asked, “How much training did he have before handed the task of directing the game day operations?” He told me that he did exactly what I did and shadowed the women doing the job he is in now. He also told me that it took him about twenty games to get the flow of what to do during game day operations.

Lastly, I asked, “How do they pick the participants for the timeout and halftime entertainment?” Brett told me that they allow the season ticket holders to submit their names so that they can be picked for the games. On the other hand, if they don’t have anyone, they just go to the stands and ask for volunteers.

In reference to the quote by Benjamin Franklin, being hands-on, shadowing Brett helped increase my knowledge of another position in the sport industry that I may be interested in.

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