Marching Band Should Be Considered a Sport | Teen Ink

Marching Band Should Be Considered a Sport

April 15, 2008
By Anonymous

When the average person thinks of sports they think of football, soccer, baseball, hockey, or basketball. Yeah those are all great sports, but what about those sports that aren't sports, but should be? Marching band should be considered a sport for many reasons. Marching band fits all the definitions for a sport (and it follows them to perfection). There are many statistics to reveal marching band is a sport and how hard the members work. As a member of the FMHS Wildcat Marching Band, I know we put forth an asonishing amount of time and practice to become he great athletes we are today.

One of the most commonly accepted definitions of a sport activity is: "a physical activity which involves propelling a mass through space or over coming the resistance of a mass." In marching band, the color guard (the girls with the flags, etc.) toss flags, rifles, sabers, etc. into the air. And those instruments! Some can weigh fifty pounds or more! The one I had was at least twenty pounds. That's definitely more than football gear!

Another definition is, "a contest or competition against or with an opponent." There are many competitive marching bands out there that compete against countless opponents at each show. One of the best competitive marching band shows is the World Championship Finals, publicized each year on ESPN (a sports channel), just like other sports. There are more than 400,000 fans at each live event.

There are many studies evaluating how much marching band members perform. One study shows one marching band member, during a parade, works harder than a football player does during a game. When conmpared to a parade, a marching band member works about twice as hard in a field show.

Another study shows that marching band members actually NEED skills! One member needs to work every part and muscle of their body. A member needs to know how to properly march, have their music completely memorized, count, move, play, and remember what to do before and after the show, all at the same time. How many football players can count and catch a ball at the same time? Sure they have to remember the play, but that's just one thing. Football players need skills too, but they don't need as many. Marching band members have to remember at least six things all at once. One member can multi-task better than any other athlete in another sport.

As a member of a marching band, I know how hard we all work. In one season, I drank four times a much water then when we weren't practicing. I also lost ten pounds in one season. We practiced daily for hours upon end. I can lift heavier things now then I could before,

In summary, is marching band a physical activity? Yes. Is marching band undertaken competitivley? Yes. It fits all the definitions of a sport, right? Yes! There are more definitions and statistics but I don't want to bore you. So, the next time you are walking down the hallway and you see someone with a lettermans jacket that says "Band" don't think "What a band geek," think, "What a great athlete!"

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This article has 171 comments.

on Oct. 16 2011 at 8:56 pm
If you're judging a "Sport" as something that takes a certain level of physical effort, why would Marching Band be discounted while curling and ping pong are both played in the olympics?

redsox3465 said...
on Oct. 13 2011 at 10:45 pm
you do realize that espn televises the world series of poker...

on Oct. 5 2011 at 3:17 pm
thank you...someone tht really gets it....we do multi any other sports have to memorize music,drill,how to march,how to stay in step and the counts? no i dont think soo..

on Oct. 5 2011 at 3:12 pm in 8th grade and we can be in marching band and i have to say MARCHING BAND IS A SPORT because lets see we go to band camp for one week in the summer and do nothing but drill..and we do box drills...and we stand at attention for like a couple football players go for 8 hours during the summer for one week and get up at like 5 they have to memorize music plus drill plus how to stay in step? or where to stop...what points u make ur next drill point...uhh no....ppl think tht marching band is just something u do for fun..and tht u do nothing...but band director yells and screams at us...and we hve a mudded up football is hard i know...but let me tell u one thing...everyone says band takes skill..yes it does..but soo does football and basketball and base ball...soo..yeah...MARCHING BANDS A SPORT!!!!


on Sep. 20 2011 at 10:18 pm
Yeah I totally agree with the writer yes I played basketball for almost my wholeblife and yeah it's hard but how long are the practices? Maybe an hour... In marching we are out there for hours on end and yes we DO have to run laps before practice starts and we build endurance alot of it at the end of the show you just want to lay down but you know you have to keep perfect posture and sound and march in time.. Oh and also not breathe at the same time as the people around you.. Sound crazy? That's why we love it.

student said...
on Sep. 20 2011 at 8:21 pm

I can honestly say that this is a good article...but you're proof is very biased and very opinionated. There are no statistics to prove your point.

Before anyone goes to rag on me, I will tell you I am involved in my band, I am a field hockey player. Unfortunatley because of my schedule, I had to drop marching band(at my school it is an eca, not a class...i don't know about other schools). I did not drop band for my sport, I am involved in alot of different things, but I will say this, marching band CAN NOT be compared to other athletic activities. 

Yes, I consider marching band a sport, but you can't compare it to football, soccer, or other contact sports. It's like trying to compare a german sheperd to a yorkie. Are they both dogs? Yes, but they are not the same breed.


Marching band requires a whole different set of skills than field hockey, or football. I'm going to use field hockey as my sports example because that is the sport I play.


Field hockey, like marching band requires alot of knowledge and thinking skills. On the field, a player must always be in tune with the seed of ball, speed of thought, speed of feet, speed of hands. On the field you're always thinking, you're always moving, you're one part of a whole. 


In marching band, it is the same thing, one part of a whole, but you're not passing instruements to one another, the only ones physically passing/throwing/engaging in anything close to contact is the color guard. 

Marching band you need to be aware of everyone and everything, you have to know your steps, your beat, your music, your rythm.  


See how different the two are? Yes, marching is a sport, trust me, I was once in band, i have friends who do march. It's not easy, but you can't compare it to other contact sports. 


ps-If anyone has statistics relevent to the studies mentioned in the article, can you share the link? I'm writing an article similar to this in my school news paper...but I want to have stats to back me up.

Ccclemmmer said...
on Sep. 12 2011 at 1:07 pm
I spent 3 years playing the saxophone and marching, and now in my senior year, I am a percussionist. I also play basketball and run track. Percussion in no way compares to the other marchers, pit or drumline. (I do both)

Ccclemmmer said...
on Sep. 12 2011 at 1:04 pm
Each of the comparisons you gave only had that in common. Coloring was a competition, coa mining was physical, and studing took skill. Marching band has ALL of the qualities, not just one.

ohokay said...
on Aug. 7 2011 at 5:09 pm
Interesting. I'm a football player and I'm also in marching band. I can tell you right off the bat that Marching band requires more skill and mental demand than football ever will. Physically football has it way harder. That I agree with, but to say football requires more skill is stupid. You don't know anything about marching band. This is coming from someone who knows BOTH sides of the issue. Don't say football requires as much OR MORE SKILL than band, because you just don't know.

on Aug. 3 2011 at 11:47 pm
I would agree band takes some amount of skill, However football takes more skill then you credit it to be. You don't know this obviously, but a wide receiver does actually have to cout in order to catch the ball the wrong amput of yards and the defense is in your way. And another thing football players multitask way more than you say not just at catching but blocking as well if you block wrong the guy your blocking is up feild and making a tackle which in turn screws up the entire play. Defense us where multitasking goes to a new level because you have to be skilled enough to know where the ball is an is going to be not by looking at te ball but the guy whose job is to block you. The secondary (linebackers, cornerbacks , and safety) these guys have to have the most skill of all as they have to know the coverage simply by looking at the formation a's well a's where to be based on multiple possibilities that would be able to happen in a play. The linebackers have the hardest job of all not only do they have to see whether a line men is light or heavy to know pass or run, but also what gap to fill in case of a run and the gap is ussually decided based on the decision the linemen said to read does. So don't say football requires less skill when you don't know, and I'm not saying band takes no skill all I'm say is football takes as much or more skill than band.

ScreenName1 said...
on Jul. 27 2011 at 7:22 pm

I forgot one more argument. The simple fact that you march competitively doesn't mean it is a sport. I entered a coloring competition when I was 6. I am not going to argue that coloring is a sport. 

Once art becomes more important than physicality, the definition of sport is moot. Physicality has to be the most important aspect to convince me that it is not a sport.

ScreenName1 said...
on Jul. 27 2011 at 7:15 pm

My opinion is that marching band is not a sport.

I am an upcoming high school freshman. I play baseball and I played the trombone and drumset in middle school. Sadly, I had to choose my first love, baseball, over band because of the demanding schedule.

First, let me credit all of those who have worked so hard in band. Marching band sounds extremely tough and must take a lot of hard work. It's hard enough making beautiful music while sitting down or standing still. It's also difficult to be able to memorize and obey marching commands. Put the two together, and you have a lot of hard work in front of you.

However, I don't think marching band should be considered a sport. The simple fact that you train in over 100 degree Fahrenheit weather or below 50 doesn't mean that anything is nessecarily a sport. Many people work hard for the SATs, or sculpting. Everything is this world takes a lot of hard work if it's worth it. This is why DCI isn't a sport.

Also, the simple fact that it takes a physical toll on your body doesn't mean it should be considered a sport. Coal mining takes a physical toll on a person. This does not mean it is a sport.

So, what makes a certain activity a sport? It's is the physical struggle. Coal mining is physical, but the goal being accomplished is not to test one's physical ability against another person, it is to load coal quickly and effeciently. Marching band is not a sport because the musical accomplishment is more important than the physical accomplishment. 

on Jun. 29 2011 at 5:07 pm
ZeeBYoung BRONZE, Coatesville, Pennsylvania
3 articles 0 photos 72 comments

Favorite Quote:
Don't judge a person until you've walked a mile in their shoes. That way, you're a mile away from them, and you have their shoes. :)

I do Colorguard, and I feel the exact same way. It takes a lot of strength to toss a rifle (Im on my Rifle line) in the air 4 times and catch it perfectly while still dancng and performing under all of that. Its not easy, and takes a lot of endurance. Im usually out of breath by the first minute of the performance...

on Jun. 13 2011 at 3:26 pm
I agree 100%. just today, i had a football player (in band in middle school) tell me marching band takes absolutely no skill, that ruined my day. I find it outrageous that so many people could be so niave about our sucess as marchers. We have so much to do all at once, and even those things by ourselves are difficult. Last year we marched to Saucedo's Persistence, the year before was Maynard Ferguson, and this upcoming year is a well known four movement peice by Robert W. Smith. There are not only schools, but PEOPLE out there that can do some pretty ridiculous stuff, and a lot of us are also some of the greatest athletes and scholars. Im not saying necessarly make/ consider it a sport, but for the love of God, give us the respect we deserve for doing something great with ourselves? North East High School Blue Crew Marching Band represent!!!!! Long live Alto Saxes!!!

on May. 15 2011 at 7:15 pm

I am a percussionist at my highschool and i am also an athlete. i feel that i have a very unbiased opinion on this topic. I love marching band with all my heart and music is my passion. I can tell you right now from a musical athlete perspective that being in sports is harding than being in marching band. Is marching band hard? holy cow yes it is. But running miles and miles and miles upon end is so much harder than walking 4 miles with 50lbs on you. Does marching band require skills? yes of course it does. And I can agree that playing an instrument probably takes more skill than playing a sport like football. Bottom line, are sports hard? yes. Is marching band hard? yes. They are two completely different things that should both be respected but kept seperated

also i feel that this article is extremely one sided and not well researched... sorry if you dont agree

milyhomm said...
on May. 12 2011 at 8:15 am
I am in our Jr.-Sr. highschool marching band as a drummer, and I consider marching band a sport. We do competions just like any sport, we move around, and we multi task. How many sports do you multitask as much as a marching band.

on Mar. 3 2011 at 1:38 pm
I completely agree with this essay it is the truth and people dont kno what it is unless they try it this is my second year and i now understand it i love it and i will always fight for it! GO MARCHING BAND!!! :)

on Sep. 24 2010 at 4:45 pm
Spence9316 BRONZE, Greensboro, Maryland
2 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
To look at a scar is to know who you are!

Oh and can i print this and show it to my bandmates? i won't claim it just think they should hear it

on Sep. 24 2010 at 4:41 pm
Spence9316 BRONZE, Greensboro, Maryland
2 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
To look at a scar is to know who you are!

I been fightin' this same arguement for YEARS in my school. thank you so much for writing this.

on Aug. 28 2010 at 1:38 pm
nellie94525 GOLD, Azusa, California
11 articles 2 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
A dying man needs to die, as a sleepy man needs to sleep, and there comes a time when it is wrong, as well as useless, to resist.

really good, i just have a hard time thinking it's a sport. i keep hearing everyone say it is, but i cant seem to follow.

and dont think im just "hating" on band geeks, because im part of the gladstone gladiator alliance.

i consider marching band and colorguard, even indoor drumline, an art. a performing art.

yes, i know for a fact we practice more, longer, and harder than more than half of the sports teams at my scool, but we're still producing art. i love that so many people have such strong feelings for such an unappreciated organization, and who knows, maybe those four years of hell weeks and heaven performances will earn us a better title(: