"You might stand alone on the field, but you know deep inside that it was the confidence instilled in you by others, as well as yourself, that got you the top job."
Over the years, 'superstars' coming out of twirling associations attended drum major tryouts, confident they could take over. However, something was frequently absent from these people — the finer points of delivering leadership. Rich recalls, "I was probably the shortest bandsperson on the field, but when I blew the whistle for attention, I was 10 feet tall. From that point on I knew I could do it. I tried to treat people like I wanted to be treated. No one questioned my game plan, and I knew I would carry my part of the show. With all those great guys and gals producing that great sound, how could you miss?"
If you were ever in doubt who was in charge, all you had to do was watch the drum major. Rich's body english would tell you where he was going, and even though you might not hear his whistle, the snap of his head gave the signal. You could believe he was in command. "I enjoy developing routines for the new shows," Parks explained.
"There is a lot that goes into the sequences to make them look graceful, and yet precise. What a thrill to perform in front of 90,000 fans. The biggest thrill is to strut out of the tunnel, through the band to do the back bend, and then lead the band down the field to the strains of Buckeye Battle Cry. You give it your all, and your heart swells with pride. It is a moment you will carry all your life."