Ahead of the game

Freshman job shadows at Gainbridge Fieldhouse to learn sports administration


Photo contributed

Freshman LJ Brennan poses for a photo at a Pacers media table at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Noah Baker, Staff Writer

When LJ Brennan’s grandmother mentioned she could get him a job shadow at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, the home court of the Pacers and Fever, for his Keystone class, he knew it was perfect.

“Sports have been a passion of mine since I was little, so I’ve always told myself that anything in the sports field is what I’m going to do,” Brennan said. “I’m a math guy, so I enjoy working with numbers. Math and sports, that’s kind of what it led to. I just want to be able to do something that I love.”

Brennan’s grandmother is a season ticket holder for the Pacers, so she had connections at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. With some luck, she ended up getting him a job shadow with Senior Box Office Director Paul Congress.

Although Brennan has always liked sports, a career in the field was not one Brennan considered at first.

“All the tasks that I had taken in my Keystone class pointed to being in the criminal justice field,” Brennan said. “So originally that was what I was looking for, but then that didn’t work. So I was just like, ‘okay, what do I enjoy?’ And then sports was the first to come to mind.”

When Brennan went to his job shadow, Congress gave him a tour of the facility, teaching him about the management of ticketing and attendance numbers.

“It was a lot of accounting and the financial side of basketball and shows,” Brennan said. “That was his main job, but during game days he would help out and make sure if he was going to run technology. I got to know a lot about the layout of the facility, and I got to see what he does when in his office.”

Brennan learned more than just the specifics of the job, but also that the job requires employees to work busy and inconsistent schedules.

“One thing that my shadow really emphasized to me when I was here is that it is not a 9 to 5 job,” Brennan said. “Sometimes it will be a 9 to 5 job, sometimes it’s a 3 to 6 job. Sometimes you can get in the office at 7:30 in the morning and not leave till 10:00 o’clock because of games or events.”

Brennan plans to continue to learn more in this field as he goes through high school and further.

“I want to study sports management or marketing in college,” Brennan said. “I also want to take sports classes that have a sports major. I’m wanting to major in sports management or sports marketing in college. I want to take high school classes to prepare me for that.”

Brennan has been inspired by Congress to pursue the same job field and look to sports for the future.

“I hope to have a job like Mr. Congress, [which] could be in the box office selling tickets or that can be as high as being an owner of a team or a general manager of the team,” Brennan said. “I just want to be in the sports field because that’s something that I’ve loved since the day I was born.”