The Progression of an Exhibition Drill Soloist

Chris Scanlan is today’s Guest writer. Thank you, Chris!

Scanlan and team 2015My name is Chris Scanlan, I’m a Cadet Captain of The Lebanon High School AFJROTC Unit in Ohio. I’ve been drilling, in every category of drill: Regulation, Inspection, Color Guard, and Exhibition, for four years now. I’m the Co-Drill Team Commander for my drill team, that won state for the past seven years and we are currently leading the circuit for state points. {The image above is of Chris and his teammates in 2015 showing their numerous trophies- DrillMaster]

What got me into drill was basically watching my brother perform drill when I was in 8th grade. I was at a local competition as a fan; I remember watching my brother competing in the armed regulation event. I remember watching everyone being in step together, staying sharp, crisp, and poised. I said, “This is amazing!” and was hooked from there on out! What kept me involved in drill was the Class of 2015 Drillers on the team. With 11 seniors, including myself, we always had each other’s’ back. Through all the losses, arguments, faults, blood, sweat, and tears given for this sport, I would go back and perform with them in a heartbeat. They truly support me like no one else.

My heart belongs to exhibition drill. I’ve work so hard to master my craft and I love every minute of it.  In my four-year drill career, I’ve managed to pull out 10 first place solos, 2 second place solos, 2 third place solos, three first place tandems, two second place tandems, and two third place tandems. I’ve also qualified for The World Drill Championships for both solo and tandem. During my freshman year, exhibition drill was frowned upon on the team. “We’re not cheerleaders!” Is what I’ve been told, numerous times, regarding exhibition. While they found it unorthodox of the hand slapping, rifle twirling, and random chants during performances, I’ve always had a greater appreciation towards it. I made it my goal to leave Lebanon High School, with people having an appreciation towards exhibition drill. As of now, I do believe my goal has been not only achieved, but exceeded. I have freshman drillers wanting to learn ex. They would always tell me how amazing I am and how they want to drill like me! After hearing stuff like that, I know I did my job and I couldn’t be happier.

John Marshall, The DrillMaster, has heavily influenced my drill in numerous way. I remember listening to his audio critique for my MIODC 3 video and just being in awe. He gave me a, “new eye” for exhibition drill. I remember the biggest thing he taught me was layered movement: using multiple layers of your drill to perform, whether it is, upper body/footwork, footwork/ torso work, ETC… He brought the idea that there is more to the art of exhibition drill than just, “spinning the rifle.”  I rely quite a bit on Mr. Marshall to give me feedback on my performances today as well as over the years. His knowledge and eye for drill is impeccable and can’t be touched. After every solo performance, I always send my video to him and ask for a critique, and he delivers! He never leaves me disappointed, whether it’s with something I couldn’t see that hindered my drill, or a 42-minute long audio critique, I love it! Mr. Marshall is the first person I go to for critiques and it will stay like that for a while. I give a big thanks to you, The DrillMaster, for increasing my growth in drill. I wouldn’t be both a great performer, and a knowledgeable driller!

My long termgoals will be competing at The NHSDTC 2015 solo and dual event this year, with my dual partner Jonathan Wurzelbacher.  After high school is over, I will be attending Wright State University, where I’ll be majoring in marketing. I will join their AFROTC program and most likely join their drill team. I hope to be able to coach a newly formed drill team, while being in college, to help inspire the young drillers, in the same manner of how I was inspired.

Here are Chris’s critiques:

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