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.


on Mar. 9 2015 at 11:24 am
batmanforever, Corry, Pennsylvania
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
told you @Maryk

Maryk PLATINUM said...
on Mar. 1 2015 at 10:03 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

Music, Dance, Form, Choreography,Creativity that is what separates marching band being a sport. It is a art that is always innovating and changing just like any other genre of art

Airplane said...
on 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

on Feb. 25 2015 at 6:17 pm
I think Marching Band should be considered a sport. I'm not saying it's better than football or it's brutal or whatever, but we work hard too! Our coach makes us run laps around the school and has us do push-ups, planks, stretches, etc. Plus, we work in the hot sun 8 hours a day, every day. And I get very tired from it. What's with Marching Band that makes it NOT a sport? It's very underrated. That's why everybody talks about how it shouldn't be a sport. What do they know about it? And BTW, I know about sports. I've been through basketball and volleyball and whatnot. I worked just as hard, if not harder in Maeching Band. Seriously guys, Give this a chance.

Maryk PLATINUM said...
on Feb. 21 2015 at 4:55 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

Good point! I rather have a marching band go hit the stage than go on the field.

on Feb. 20 2015 at 1:47 pm
Tanner Neitman, Franklin, Wisconsin
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Marching band can be a sport when you have 200 pound linemen chasing you down.

Maryk PLATINUM said...
on Feb. 7 2015 at 10:01 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

Before you make your essay I advise that you talk about the artistic and creative aspects that make marching band not a sport but an art-form and the consequences of trying to make it a sport. I have found evidence of the fact that some organizations like Drum Corps International and even collage marching bands want to put the creative part on the side and market bands and brass corps like sports teams.However the flip side of the coin is the show Blast which makes the marching band have a more theatrical aspect than performing to get a trophy or money. Also hazing and harassment is also a huge issue that you should look into, such as the incidents with A&M's band and the firing of Ohio State's band director. Remember there is a side to every story and that sometimes things that look good on the field can be detrimental for musicians and color guards behind the scenes

mnmband29 said...
on Feb. 3 2015 at 9:17 pm
This essay is amazing. I am in marching band at my highschool. I am a freshman but was invited to join in the seventh grade. I never understood what members of a marching band endured during band camp. daily practices, Friday night football games, and Saturday morning competitions. I am about to start writing an essay with the same point as this. Marching band fits every definition of sport.It is most definitely in need of more support. Memorizing music, counts, rests, horn flashes, visuals, and up to 100 different, very precise locations on a field. Also, almost every marching band is asked to play at their schools football games every week. Yet, when a marching band has a competition, not a single football player shows up to give support and respect. I think that marching band is the most complicated sport that exists and it needs the most skills, strength, endurance, and coordination to pursue.

band geek said...
on Feb. 2 2015 at 5:26 pm
Injuries do happen in marching band but aren't talked about because that injured player is expected to March the show anyway. If one player isn't there it is very noticeable in the entire form. As for action marching band has it and so do other sports it more depends on what a viewer considers action for example some people consider people running into each other action while others might find epic soundtracks and dancing or marching people action.

Frank said...
on Jan. 27 2015 at 3:11 pm
Yes marching ban is a sport cause football players are only out there 2 hours marching band is out there for 4-6 hours not including band camp

Maryk PLATINUM said...
on Jan. 7 2015 at 12:03 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

My concern with the idea of marching band even being a sport is that the artistic and musical creativity of being a musician gets overtaken by competition and over perfection. Imagine if your a really creative and compassionate person that worked really hard and instead of your group getting credit and phrase, the director that has more money, harasses students, and let's others get away with bulling and name calling gets all the credit. In these situations of competition and sport, the power and credit is given to the wrong people which turns musical marchers into victims of a unforgiving system weather it be a High School, Corps, or collage.

on Jan. 5 2015 at 11:52 am
Thanks! Marching Band is a sport and it IS the hardest sport. I don't understand what people don't get about that. Memorizing music AND memorizing marching sets is harder than running down a field or court with a ball.

Maryk PLATINUM said...
on Dec. 21 2014 at 9:47 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 have seen many great and thought provoking opinions in this essay about marching band being a artistic and creative instead of a competitive sport. I would like it if you replied to my forum The Marching Band Has Issues, I made it in response to the firing of the marching band director at Ohio State for his harassment, hazing, and degrading of band members. There are many musicians that feel victim to this culture of bulling and crushed creativity. Please Comment Mary K

Maryk PLATINUM said...
on Dec. 9 2014 at 10:06 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

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.

Maryk PLATINUM said...
on Dec. 8 2014 at 9:05 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 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 nessiary to change. If not you will have jelous pit members

on Dec. 7 2014 at 12:35 pm
FateRunner BRONZE, San Jose, California
3 articles 0 photos 14 comments
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 PLATINUM said...
on Nov. 15 2014 at 9:56 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

It's good to know the difference between an art and a sport, yet sadly some people like to combine the two things that do not go well together. Art deserves aprication and love not a plack on the wall or a trophy. The compition and the juging needs to end so that all people can have their opinon, not just the guy at the table. 

on Nov. 11 2014 at 4:28 pm
FateRunner BRONZE, San Jose, California
3 articles 0 photos 14 comments
I am a member of a marching band and even I don't think marching band is a sport.  It is an art form. I also play soccer and run cross country and i never get tired marching.

Maryk PLATINUM said...
on Nov. 11 2014 at 9:56 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 amazing I like bands that do not compete and enjoy what they are doing. Your coment definaly proves a point, marching bands don't have to be sport teams but just be themselfs. I fact bands that do not compeate perform better and it does not matter where you practice. How you treat you musicans and accomidate for others in the band is what makes a band amazing

on Nov. 10 2014 at 9:32 pm
PianoKeys97 PLATINUM, Medford, New Jersey
22 articles 35 photos 60 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches." -Dita Von Teese

This is the truest statement I have heard all day... As a member of a marching band myself, marching band has been the hardest thing (though also the best thing) I have ever done in my entire life. I feel we work jsut as hard, if not harder, as any other sport out there. What's funny is that if you look up my school on Google Earth, you can see the marching band practicing in the parking lot and not one sports team is out on the football field, soccer fields, track, etc.




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