Marching Band Should Be Considered a Sport

April 15, 2008
By Elizabeth Richardson, Grand Junction, CO

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 168 comments.


Maryk PLATINUM said...
on Aug. 28 2015 at 9:22 am
Maryk PLATINUM, Waterford, Michigan
22 articles 1 photo 66 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The ability to learn is greater than the ability to teach." - Arnold Jacobs
"He who slays monsters will become a monster himself"-Nietzsche
"UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothing is going to get better its not"-Dr.Suess
“They are poor, especially for the player, I think it is very difficult to have auditions and find a suitable way to judge, because we have a great many talented players to choose from. This means a lot of heartbreak for the people who are very capable.”-Arnold Jacobs, Teacher and Tuba Player

No it's should be a form of community service, because when you make it a sport you lose out of the creativity and musicianship these people have and focus on wining, wining, winging. Art of any kind is not a sport and marching bands are combinations of many forms of art music, dance, performance, theater, and drill design. Appreciate all these factors not just the athletic side.

Susan said...
on Aug. 22 2015 at 6:00 pm
you've obviously never been in Marching Band

on Aug. 11 2015 at 5:02 pm
It matters if it is a sport because the people who are in band can then be qualified as a varsity player and when taking classes and receiving credit we don't have to waste our time taking another gym class when we could be focusing on real and important classes

MagicWolf said...
on Jun. 29 2015 at 12:03 pm
It matters that its a sport because every Marching band member is made fun off and laugh at. It's not theater art. Cheerleading and golf are consider a sport, you wanna tell me why MB isn't. It's not about sounding pretty or art like, it's about the amount of blood and sweat we lay down. About the hard work we do and are never recognized for that. All the credit is giving to Cheerleaders and football players. Our Band director doesn't even get paid extra for the hard work she puts in, she does it because she loves it.

Maryk PLATINUM said...
on May. 21 2015 at 9:23 pm
Maryk PLATINUM, Waterford, Michigan
22 articles 1 photo 66 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The ability to learn is greater than the ability to teach." - Arnold Jacobs
"He who slays monsters will become a monster himself"-Nietzsche
"UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothing is going to get better its not"-Dr.Suess
“They are poor, especially for the player, I think it is very difficult to have auditions and find a suitable way to judge, because we have a great many talented players to choose from. This means a lot of heartbreak for the people who are very capable.”-Arnold Jacobs, Teacher and Tuba Player

You are a Roman if you even think Marching Band is a sport, shame on you and your assumptions and lack of information of the psychology and sociology of this issue and its impact

Maryk PLATINUM said...
on May. 21 2015 at 9:17 pm
Maryk PLATINUM, Waterford, Michigan
22 articles 1 photo 66 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The ability to learn is greater than the ability to teach." - Arnold Jacobs
"He who slays monsters will become a monster himself"-Nietzsche
"UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothing is going to get better its not"-Dr.Suess
“They are poor, especially for the player, I think it is very difficult to have auditions and find a suitable way to judge, because we have a great many talented players to choose from. This means a lot of heartbreak for the people who are very capable.”-Arnold Jacobs, Teacher and Tuba Player

But what about the show Blast, is not theater of this kind an art? because if what you are saying it true James Mason would of never made this endeavor and so would Canadian Brass the forerunners of making instrumental music more theatrical and humorous. Sure it takes physical and mental work, but the creativity of making such entertainment is also hard work visually and musically. Marching Band to you is a sport because that is what every director bows down to so he can make money for himself and not benefit the student with a Sousaphone whose tuning slide does not work. So go off on your high horse but just wait until your individuality, creativity, and artistic liberty is crushed by a judge or a band director who lets this go on.

Maryk PLATINUM said...
on May. 16 2015 at 8:43 am
Maryk PLATINUM, Waterford, Michigan
22 articles 1 photo 66 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The ability to learn is greater than the ability to teach." - Arnold Jacobs
"He who slays monsters will become a monster himself"-Nietzsche
"UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothing is going to get better its not"-Dr.Suess
“They are poor, especially for the player, I think it is very difficult to have auditions and find a suitable way to judge, because we have a great many talented players to choose from. This means a lot of heartbreak for the people who are very capable.”-Arnold Jacobs, Teacher and Tuba Player

Working on a new essay called The Audition Room which is based on a quote about audition committees from Tuba Player and Teacher Arnold Jacobs “They are poor, especially for the player, I think it is very difficult to have auditions and find a suitable way to judge, because we have a great many talented players to choose from. This means a lot of heartbreak for the people who are very capable.”

Thor said...
on May. 15 2015 at 9:57 am
I suppose baseball, track, basketball, and volleyball will be sports when they "Have 200 pound lineman chasing them down" as if that makes something a sport. Sure.

Thor said...
on May. 15 2015 at 9:55 am
Marching band is less abour art and more about discipline and activity. If you want that kind of art go watch a concert band. Marching band origionated in the military and was origionaly used to help with troops on the battle field. Something with that kind of origion is definitely less about art. Yes we play beautiful music but its more PHYSICAL. Not even the major sports have that kind of origion. It is hard, it is demanding, it is brutal, and it should be a sport because we compete. Without competitions we wouldn't have the amazing corps like the Blue Devils, Bluecoats, Caveliers, etc. and that would be less entertainment. Sweating, dehydration, and hard work are not beautiful. Concert band is an art, but marching band is a sport. plain and simple.

Maryk PLATINUM said...
on Apr. 18 2015 at 1:18 pm
Maryk PLATINUM, Waterford, Michigan
22 articles 1 photo 66 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The ability to learn is greater than the ability to teach." - Arnold Jacobs
"He who slays monsters will become a monster himself"-Nietzsche
"UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothing is going to get better its not"-Dr.Suess
“They are poor, especially for the player, I think it is very difficult to have auditions and find a suitable way to judge, because we have a great many talented players to choose from. This means a lot of heartbreak for the people who are very capable.”-Arnold Jacobs, Teacher and Tuba Player

Yes because it is very degrading and repressive for any art form to be judged by people that are too wealthy,too demanding, and think of marching band as a place where they can find and audition young musicians to become pawns for their own gain and satisfy their delusions of grandeur.For some musicians an auditioning is there only opportunity and their only option and even if they do get in even their own self worth and individuality is crushed for the sake of getting a high score, a trophy, and money...lots of money that in the end means big bucks for the director and nothing to support the creativity and artistic value of these musicians.

Ano... said...
on Apr. 15 2015 at 2:56 pm
You think we should stop having marching band competitions all together?

Maryk PLATINUM said...
on Apr. 9 2015 at 10:16 am
Maryk PLATINUM, Waterford, Michigan
22 articles 1 photo 66 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The ability to learn is greater than the ability to teach." - Arnold Jacobs
"He who slays monsters will become a monster himself"-Nietzsche
"UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothing is going to get better its not"-Dr.Suess
“They are poor, especially for the player, I think it is very difficult to have auditions and find a suitable way to judge, because we have a great many talented players to choose from. This means a lot of heartbreak for the people who are very capable.”-Arnold Jacobs, Teacher and Tuba Player

I agree with you, just because it's a physical activity does not mean it's a sport. Imagine trying to make Ballet and Musical Theater sports it would be a disaster not just for the viewer but the performers. It would put them under pressure and destroy the creativity and individuality of the art form. This is a HUGE issue for Brass Corps and Marching Bands and I think the competition needs to stop and the creativity should begin.

great BRONZE said...
on Apr. 7 2015 at 9:27 pm
great BRONZE, Marietta, Georgia
3 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
My favorite animal is steak.

I'm just wondering, why does it matter if it's a sport or not? It being a sport doesn't make it any better or worse. One or both of these definitions can include wine tasting contests, college admissions, janitorial duties, publishing a book, loading a truck, playing the violin, etc. Why is it assumed that proving an activity is a sport suddenly makes that activity better, more justified?

Airplane said...
on Apr. 7 2015 at 7:29 pm
Well, I guess you have a point. The main reason I want Marching Band to be considered a sport is because I want people to get through their heads is that Marching Band is harder than they think.

Maryk PLATINUM said...
on Apr. 7 2015 at 8:28 am
Maryk PLATINUM, Waterford, Michigan
22 articles 1 photo 66 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The ability to learn is greater than the ability to teach." - Arnold Jacobs
"He who slays monsters will become a monster himself"-Nietzsche
"UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothing is going to get better its not"-Dr.Suess
“They are poor, especially for the player, I think it is very difficult to have auditions and find a suitable way to judge, because we have a great many talented players to choose from. This means a lot of heartbreak for the people who are very capable.”-Arnold Jacobs, Teacher and Tuba Player

Sure friendly competition between two players is fun and sometimes funny, but when the competition is mandatory you lose all the fun, creativity, and individuality of the group members and the band itself. We are not musical robots or trained seals, but to the judges and audition committees we are and that mindset creates a dangerous environment for all musicians who have there own creative and talented gifts.

Maryk PLATINUM said...
on Mar. 21 2015 at 9:23 am
Maryk PLATINUM, Waterford, Michigan
22 articles 1 photo 66 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The ability to learn is greater than the ability to teach." - Arnold Jacobs
"He who slays monsters will become a monster himself"-Nietzsche
"UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothing is going to get better its not"-Dr.Suess
“They are poor, especially for the player, I think it is very difficult to have auditions and find a suitable way to judge, because we have a great many talented players to choose from. This means a lot of heartbreak for the people who are very capable.”-Arnold Jacobs, Teacher and Tuba Player

That is good if it is a credit for a school, what concerns me is the hyper competitors who want marching bands to be so sport-like you loose site of the creative and artistic side of the art form. Even brass corps have this same issue on a very high stake. Drum Corps International is like the N.F.L or N.C.A.A of the brass corps which means trouble for independent marching bands and corps indoor or outdoor. Every time a band or brass corp does a show that they worked hard on, they get judged and chastised all in the name of money and a trophy on their shelf. It is ridiculous and intolerant and I feel people in this community should not let them get away with this.

Axela17 GOLD said...
on Mar. 19 2015 at 5:06 pm
Axela17 GOLD, New Bremen, Ohio
10 articles 0 photos 44 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live by the body, I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." -Galatians 2:20

At my school marching band is considered a sport and if you take it for two years, you don't have to participate in gym class. It's nice to be recognized for all the hard work we do. :)

Airplane said...
on Mar. 12 2015 at 7:10 pm
*sigh* What I'm trying to say is, the action and compitition is half the fun of Marching Band. Not just for a crowd, but for performers as well. Without all that, marching band just wouldn't be marching band. Maybe it's not a sport, but it is more intense than people may think.

Maryk PLATINUM said...
on Mar. 12 2015 at 11:09 am
Maryk PLATINUM, Waterford, Michigan
22 articles 1 photo 66 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The ability to learn is greater than the ability to teach." - Arnold Jacobs
"He who slays monsters will become a monster himself"-Nietzsche
"UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothing is going to get better its not"-Dr.Suess
“They are poor, especially for the player, I think it is very difficult to have auditions and find a suitable way to judge, because we have a great many talented players to choose from. This means a lot of heartbreak for the people who are very capable.”-Arnold Jacobs, Teacher and Tuba Player

Why would anyone want competition in a musical form? Judges and audition committees are poor supporters of people who want to perform because like the American Idol judges they are looking for the next Mozart. No one should have the expectation of perfection because imperfection is all around us and makes this world wonderful. Therefore competition and auditions need to stop, so that they could help talented people, not hinder their hard work and abilities. One band director told me that if he helped people he would be cheating. Mentorship, guidance, compassion, and education is not cheating it is a value and need for all musicians no matter where they come from or how they learn.

Maryk PLATINUM said...
on Mar. 10 2015 at 9:59 am
Maryk PLATINUM, Waterford, Michigan
22 articles 1 photo 66 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The ability to learn is greater than the ability to teach." - Arnold Jacobs
"He who slays monsters will become a monster himself"-Nietzsche
"UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothing is going to get better its not"-Dr.Suess
“They are poor, especially for the player, I think it is very difficult to have auditions and find a suitable way to judge, because we have a great many talented players to choose from. This means a lot of heartbreak for the people who are very capable.”-Arnold Jacobs, Teacher and Tuba Player

Therefore we finally know that musicians are way more intelligent than the Romans. Who had terrible ethics when it came down to rules in sports, and a plenty of hazing in their own army. We have come far as musicians and anyone who claims hazing, competition, and harassment as tradition they are clearly a Roman.




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