The “Orlando Move” and Keeping Your Bearing

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Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Orlando De La Paz

When I was in high school (Agua Fria in Avondale, AZ) I was on the drill team for our Air Force JROTC unit. During my sophomore year, at a competition in Phoenix, one of my teammates performed an incredible feat.

We were always up against Tolleson High School Marine Corps JROTC and we would practice every day after school and on Saturdays just to beat them because they were SO GOOD! Other teams were good, but we were amazed watching Tolleson perform. Any kind of mistake would knock us out of the running for first place, we had to be perfect.

It was our turn to perform our exhibition drill routine. Our team commander, Thom Bushman (kneeling at the front in the above picture), went to report-in, returned to the team, and gave, “Forward, HARCH!” We entered at our signature spot, the upper right corner (from the head judge) at an angle and began our routine. Everything was going perfectly and as we got out of Wagon Wheel into flight formation to have the team now march squared off to the box, the team took off to the right, away from the judge, and Orlando (the dapper cadet with a mustache in the above picture) went to the left! We, in the team proper, went on to continue our performance without Orlando who, centered on the head judge, marched directly toward him. Orlando stopped a couple of steps away from the judge, popped a perfect salute, executed an About Face, and marched straight toward the rest of the team.

Amazingly, without any major adjustment, Orlando and the rest of the team perfectly merged and continued the performance without a single flaw, well, not a single detectable flaw to anyone outside of the team. As the team was dismissed, mouths were wide open in disbelief and everyone was cheering wildly.

Without missing a beat, Orlando was able to hold his military bearing (composure), and create something on the fly that absolutely no one would ever think was a mistake.

No matter what you are doing and no matter happens, never let anyone in the audience know that you made a mistake by rolling your eyes, making a sound, or any kind of gesture. Because no one in the audience really knows if that was mistake or not.

Oh, we won.

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