Evan Nickel is “flippin’ sweet” in gymnastics and drumline


“Flippina�� sweet!”

While this phrase was coined by the timeless movie, Napoleon Dynamite, the words are presently embodied by junior Evan Nickel in all aspects of his life. From tumbling through the air at gymnastics to performing with his drumsticks on the marching field, Evan is, truly, “flippina�� sweet.”

“I play the snare drum,” Evan said. “I was on front ensemble my freshman year, and I made snare sophomore and junior year. Snare has the marching aspect to it- unlike pit- which I prefer.”

The upgrade from front ensemble to snare drum was a big deal for Evan. Every member of drumline has to audition for the instrument they want to play, and many don’t make their top choice instrument. Luckily for Evan, his hard work paid off when he made snare.

“Drumline auditions are done as a group, not individually,” Evan said. “A few weeks before the audition, everyone is given a packet of drum exercises- which should be memorized- that we play at auditions. The exercises are a way to find who has good fundamental [skills] on their drum.”

Evan, a key component of the snare line, thoroughly enjoys the music he gets to play. His time in marching band has helped him exercise his passion for music.

“I like marching season a lot better than concert [season],” Evan said. “We have “Fifth Quartera�� after every game, so we get to play cadences. Later, it becomes an entire section of Bandtasia. The music for drumline is more exciting and challenging, and we have much more music for Fifth Quarter.”

I like that I can interpret the music for myself and put my own style into each piece that I play.

— Evan

During marching season, a large fraction of his day was occupied by drumline; practices took place during zero hour, as well as after school.

Drumline members would often find themselves at the school from 6:40 in the morning until 9:00 at night. For Evan, that means developing good time management skills with homework and meals.

The long, arduous hours are worth it, though, because of the bond that drumline members create with each other.

“The drumline is sort of like a family,” Evan said. “Even though we’re divided into sections, it doesn’t feel that way. The drumline also has traditions that help us bond with each other. [We’re] also motivated; we really care about having our music sound as good as it can, just because we enjoy it.”

Outside of flipping drumsticks, Evan also participates in another flipping sport: gymnastics. A veteran of three to four years, Evan practices his passion at Aerials Gym. Again, he is able to see his hard work pay off; at his last gymnastics meet, Evan placed fourth in his double mini event and first in the trampoline and tumbling events.

“I was happy with how I did,” Evan said. “I was happy with getting fourth because I was against my teammates, and [I] didn’t expect to do better than them, since they’re so good.”

Evan goes to Aerials four days a week for practice, and he is very dedicated to improving his skill in the sport. Gymnastics can get tough, but Evan is tougher.

“For me, the hardest part of gymnastics is consistency,” Evan said. “It takes mental and physical skill to maintain good form– and to be actively maintaining good form. My favorite part about it is [the] actual practice, not competing. I just like to have fun at practice and work on getting better at the sport.”

It’s easy to see results with an athlete so dedicated. Last year, Evan went to Nationals, which was held in Madison, Wisconsin. He placed first on tumbling, second on trampoline, and third on double mini.

Just like with drumline, Evan has found a family for himself at the gym.

“Everyone at the gym is really motivated to improve themselves,” Evan said. “While our team doesn’t have as many people as other gyms, we have a lot of really high-quality athletes. The best thing about them is that they are open to advice and willing to teach each other.”

Evan’s “flippina�� sweet” personality shines through at home with his real family, too. He’s close to his two brothers, Ben and Carson. Ben is Evan’s twin, and Carson is a few years older.

“I can’t imagine being an only child,” Evan said. “It was sad that Carson went off to college because I’m good friends with him. It was kind of weird [at first] because I expected him to be home after school, even though he wasn’t. I talk to him often, and he visits for the holidays, [so] I enjoy that.”

With all the activities Evan partakes in, it’s incredible that he can put so much passion into each one. This passion comes easily to Evan, though, since it’s just his natural tendency to being dedicated and “flippina�� sweet.”

I like to play music that may challenge me, or play music that sounds really nice,” Evan said. “I like that I can interpret the music for myself and put my own style into each piece that I play.”