A day in their scrubs
Hometown: I’m from Corpus Christi, born and raised. K-12 in the same school district. Went to college at Texas A&M Corpus Christi where I majored in Biomedical Science with a Minor in Chemistry. Moved up to Dallas during the summer of 2019 for Dental School.
Why dentistry? My older sister was a dentist, so some of the first times I had tooth pain I went to her. It was always impressive how she was able to help me get out of pain or pull a loose tooth. As I got older, I wound up working in her office one of the summers after I graduated high school. That’s where I fell in love with the field. As I went through college, that’s what I really focused on. In high school I had done a lot welding and fabrication work that I really enjoyed. Dentistry was the best of both worlds – the medical field and a hands-on career.
Post-graduation plans: I’m job hunting in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I would like to work in a private office, practicing general dentistry. Ideally in an office that has newer technology and does more complicated procedures such as implants, root canals, and prosthetic dentistry.
The Society for Creative Anachronism: Outside of school, I’m a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, or SCA for short. It’s an organization that pursues research and re-creation of pre-seventeenth century skills, arts, combat and culture. We sew our own clothes, we make our own armor, paint our own art, brew our own mead. Anything that was done in medieval times, short of dying of the plague and no antibiotics, we try to recreate. The best way to think of it is a private Renaissance Festival, where everything is done for us not for a public display.
What is anachronism? Anachronism is different than reenactment. With reenactment, you’re trying to do everything exactly the way they did in history. Anachronism means we take some liberties, but we do it creatively. I fight with some plastic armor; I use cleats that are covered in leather … but we try to make everything seem as close to realistic as possible. The character I play would have been in the Sweden, Denmark, Finland area, where the weather was a lot colder than Texas. If I were to try to wear what they wore, I would die of heatstroke! So we use thin linen and lighter armor, but we try to make it look accurate for the time period. Appearance of historical accuracy is what we aim for.
What do you do in the SCA? We have our own characters, in game. My “name” is Magnus Creppinson. The character is a Viking from Northern Scandinavian around 800-900 AD, the early Viking period.
I’m also the Knight Marshall of the local Dallas group called The Barony of The Steppes. This means I help armor new people and make sure they’re safe, as well as conduct weekly practice for the local fighters. People can come and practice with us for free; they just need an athletic cup and a cup to drink out of. Across the DFW area, there’s a really big fighting hub.
I met my girlfriend of three-and-a-half years, Katie Gilroy, through the SCA! She was associated with the Dallas fighting group, and that’s how we started dating. We started dating the week before my D1 year started, which people say is the worst time to get into a relationship, but it worked out. She had friends in medical school, so she understood the scheduling and time commitment, and we had this hobby in common, so it worked out. She does a later character, more from the 1400’s in England, named Margaery Heron. She also does heavy fighting so we frequently spar and train together.
How did you first get involved? I’ve been fighting different martial arts my whole life. I started Taekwondo when I was 6, and as I got older, I did Brazilian jiu-jitsu, boxing, wrestling, mixed martial arts and then transitioned into this. A friend introduced me to this group. I had been talking about wanting to learn sword fighting for a while. She saw this and said, “There’s a bunch of sword fighters here!” So I went to a practice down in Corpus Christi in 2016, and I never looked back.
Right now I’m a Centurion, which is considered a mid- to high-level fighter. I’m working my way up to becoming a Knight. You could equate it to someone who’s a purple belt, trying to become a black belt. My girlfriend Katie is also a Centurion.
How have your experiences as a member of the SCA and a student dentist crossed over? Being in the SCA you meet a lot of new people. When I was younger, I didn’t have a lot of social skills so being in the SCA really helped me there. It helped me to talk to a lot of people, from a lot of different backgrounds, about a lot of different stuff. It helped me become more of a people person.
What really helped me is we put ourselves in high-stress situations for fun. There’s been a couple of times when I’ve been close to a deep cavity, prep work gets harder than I thought, or you’re crunched for time trying to finish. The stress of dealing with a patient in front of you is nothing compared to a 200-pound grown man coming at you, fully armored. Even when I’m stressed, I’m able to keep calm because the cavity’s not trying to hit me back!
Advice for incoming students: Spend more time than you think on your hand skills. I know you have to study, you have to do a lot, and it seems like a drag to put time into something else, but those hours really add up over time. When I was a D1 I’d try and get at least an hour extra a day in the SIM lab. But even just a little bit of extra practice every day will pay off down the road. It’s like adding XP into a skill. Every time you go to the SIM lab and touch a handpiece, you’re improving those skills. Better hand skills, better drilling, better at being a better dentist.
Advice for those interested in the SCA: Honestly, it’s the same advice. Just put a little bit of time into it. Too many people let perfection be the enemy of progress. You’re tired and you don’t want to go train, just put in a little bit of time. Do something to keep moving toward improvement. If you don’t have an hour, that’s fine, but put in something and do what you can. There’s also a lot more than just fighting that people can learn in the SCA and get involved with. Whether its art, archery, or research, consistency over time is what will yield results.
The Dallas SCA group meets for fighter practice 7 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Richardson. To learn more about the Society for Creative Anachronism, and the local chapter, visit https://ansteorra.org.