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Marching Band Should Be Considered a Sport

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!"

Join the Discussion

This article has 156 comments. Post your own now!

Maryk said...
Oct. 4, 2014 at 12:38 pm
Have any of you seen the show Blast, I think if you watch or go see the show at a theater it will change your mind about marching band being a sport. Just a option to enlighten you MaryK
cami_cook314 said...
Sept. 30, 2014 at 10:33 am
I agree with this article, Color Guard and Marching Band are a sport. I am in color guard and we do more work than cheerleaders and football or baseball players do, so that's why I agree that Color Guard and Marching Band are a sport
e.dalgThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 28, 2014 at 4:40 pm
I'm in marching band, too, and let's not consider the fact that while you are walking or running, you can only breathe about 1/4 of the time. Imagine a football player running to get to a certain place on a field and then having to hold their breath for 15 seconds!
FateRunnerThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Dec. 7, 2014 at 12:35 pm
I am in Marching band and it is not a sport. You walk and play an instrument. It is challenging mentally, but not physically. You guys are saying you work harder then many sports. This is not true.
Maryk replied...
Dec. 8, 2014 at 9:05 am
I think this artform can be mentaly and phyicaly challanging for everyone. Even though it looks easy when you watch DCI shows or Blast it is very demanding for the musicans and the colorgards. This is why there are not very many mentaly and learning disabled people on the feild, it is too over stimulating and very harsh. If band directors and choriographers acctualy learned about what goes on in the mind of the learning and cognitivly impared their intire system will have the compasion ... (more »)
Maryk replied...
Dec. 9, 2014 at 10:06 am
Also,lets think this over, if your a picolo player that's ok. However, if your playing a Bartione Sax, Sousaphone, Bass Drum, or Quads then it's phycaly demanding for these musicans that march around a feild or stage! Why does it look easy to anyone is because they develop strengh and have done this many times. I have my own Sousaphone and I too had to develop my own strengh along with my tuba to play wonderful music in a band or as a soloist.
Taco pizza said...
Sept. 23, 2014 at 3:23 pm
It is not a sport because it is a music group
Maryk replied...
Nov. 3, 2014 at 9:22 am
Marching bands are not just one music group there are many forms of marching bands not only in the Americas but in Europe where marching bands are actualy a benifit for many comunities and bring all kinds of people togeather to make music not just an art but verry visual exsprience.
Airplane replied...
Feb. 25, 2015 at 6:19 pm
Just because it's a music group doesn't mean it isn't a sport. It's still a hard-working team that trains hard and competes
Maryk replied...
Mar. 12, 2015 at 11:09 am
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 h... (more »)
Airplane replied...
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 replied...
Apr. 7, 2015 at 8:28 am
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.
Airplane replied...
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.
apasco5 said...
Sept. 21, 2014 at 4:54 pm
A girl in my section last year fractured her ankle, (she just thought she sprained it) and she still marched the full show. if that doesn't show you dedication, than i dont know what does. when someone gets hurt, theres not another person waiting to go in for them. marching band is a sport that shows kids how important it is for each and every person to be a part of the team and work together. there's not any "heros". everyone's position is just as important as someone else... (more »)
Maryk replied...
Sept. 23, 2014 at 11:36 am
It's a sad fact that some marching bands treat their performers like their army men or football players. It is a terible mentality that needs to be changed along with hazing and sexist coments about colorguards being "the shiney thing". Musical creativity is deminshed and so are the musicans social and mental well being when bands are run this way. You can't force talented people to become an army, you have to guide them and help them develop their skills
Track#1 said...
Sept. 17, 2014 at 9:13 am
I do not agree, I don't see marching band being a sport at all. Not once in that article did I see anything about injuries. If you have forgotten athletes do get quite a few injuries. I've heard about a lot of athletes being injured, but I never heard about a marching band member being injured. Also in football they don't just have to remember the game. They have to remember their position, and what they are supposed to do. There is a whole bunch of action in sports, that's o... (more »)
damienpengu2211 replied...
Sept. 17, 2014 at 9:41 pm
As a member of marching band, I will speak for myself and most likely everyone else. I have lost count on how many people have gotten injured so far this season, and we haven't even made it to our first contest yet. Injuries are extremely common in marching band, especially injured knees, pulled muslces, bruises, scrapes and scratches, rolled ankles (this is happens pretty frequently), and things of that sort. I recall one time that we had someone get a concussion because when he got rammed ... (more »)
Maryk replied...
Sept. 18, 2014 at 11:48 am
I love your coment because this is pure evedence that marching bands and brass corps should focus on music and creativity than on numbers and points like the NFL. By the way I'am also a huge fan of the show Blast and I want to be a sociologist that studies music education and marching bands so that they can help people with mental and cognitive imparments. When I was in Marching Band they put me in the pit due to poor deph perception and I had a Sousaphone, it was so hard on me that I quit. ... (more »)
BelleMarie replied...
Oct. 26, 2014 at 10:59 pm
That is a fair point, but quite untrue. The number of people who get dehydrated, who throw up, who sprain ankles, break bones, get cuts and bruises are astronomic. The most common injuries in sports include sprains and knee injuries. Have you ever tried getting a hundred people to march backwards in a pothole-ridden field? I can assure you, all does not go smoothly; there are quite a few ankle sprains. A huge reason that this is not well known is, quite frankly, the staff doesn't care. Well,... (more »)
Maryk replied...
Nov. 7, 2014 at 10:23 am
Please respond to my forum The Marching Band Has Issues, I made it because I heard that the band director of Ohio State got fired for hazzing, harassment, and sexulization of band members. I don't want anyone to ignore this issue I want you to speak out in my forum. I need someone to stand up for these victums that have no voice in the band communty. 
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