C/O Yoohyun Park/Production Coordinator

Fans attend the game for a couple of hours, but how much effort gets put into preparing a game?

Football, basketball and volleyball — these are McMaster’s three most popular varsity sports for students to enjoy watching, but there are many more, from badminton to field hockey to water polo and more. Not only does each sport require a different set up, but each individual game does too. For example, setting up for football homecoming to a sold out stadium required a different set of plans than the second game against the Laurier Golden Hawks when it was rainy and cold. 

All these considerations and more are handled by TJ Kelly, the Facilities and Events Manager for McMaster’s athletics and recreation department. After he thinks of everything, Dalton Jeyapalan, the Events Coordinator, implements it with Kelly’s approval as the final word.

Jeyapalan originally recognized his passion for working with sports when he was an undergraduate student at York University, holding an event staff job as part of the work-study program. 

“I just knew that it was bigger than myself; it was part of school identity. And sports have a huge role in a lot of individuals and their success in their academics, so I knew that I always wanted to work in university athletics. I felt it was just more intimate and more focused on individual self development and growth,” explained Jeyapalan. 

“I just knew that it was bigger than myself; it was part of school identity. And sports have a huge role in a lot of individuals and their success in their academics, so I knew that I always wanted to work in university athletics. I felt it was just more intimate and more focused on individual self development and growth.”

Dalton Jeyapalan, Events coordinator

As Events Coordinator, Jeyapalan is on campus quite often, even on off days. It takes about a week to set up properly and ensure that the event runs smoothly. He considers multiple groups of people, from audio and visual, to the OUA and even student organizations such as the Black Student Athlete Council. All these groups and many more have something to gain from being considered in the planning of these events. He ensures each group has exactly what they need through constant communication and piecing everything together like a puzzle. 

“If you get the logistics in place a few days in advance, it helps for a seamless event, rather than just figuring it out at game time and I gotta tell people, ‘Okay go get this, go get that.’ It’s more like having this stuff prepped, knowing where it is and that way when the questions are asked, you have the answer as soon as possible,” said Jeyapalan. 

Luckily, when it comes to putting the entire event together on the day of, Jeyapalan isn’t alone. He is aided by a group of event staff, made up of McMaster students. There are about 45 to 50 event staff and different quantities of staff members are in attendance at every game. Event staff help out with a variety of game day operations such as COVID-19 documentation check, ticket scanning and more. 

For Jeyapalan, the event staff are his coworkers and people he can help grow and succeed, both in their careers and academically. He encourages students as a whole to push the envelope and try new things to see what they’re really capable of. 

“I like to think that I’m a prime example. I never thought I could work in sports and I tested the envelope. I did things that are out of the ordinary and I’m here now . . . Give me a shout, follow me on LinkedIn. I’m there and we can definitely connect and see where your opportunities can align with mine and we can see how far you can go above me. Because that’s my main goal — to see everyone around me get bigger and better,” said Jeyapalan. 

Because that’s my main goal — to see everyone around me get bigger and better

Dalton Jeyapalan

Just like how events require a lot of planning, so does a university career; however, it helps to add a little bit of fun. Students may not have fan cams cheering them on, but they have friends, professors and more all ready to support one another. It is important for students in all university communities, not just within sports, to support each other and remember that their friends, professors and support systems are there to help.

If interested in supporting McMaster’s varsity teams, tickets are now available for basketball and volleyball at mcmaster.universitytickets.com with more non-ticketed events coming in the winter season during second semester.

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