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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 101 comments. Post your own!

ScreenName said...
Mar. 2, 2012 at 11:38 am:

Your argument can't be validated by word of mouth. You have to have actual studies that show that marching band members exerting something measurable that can be compared to other sports. I did a paper on this and I found a case study that said marching band shouldn't even be allowed to replace a regular Physical Education credit. 

Strand B, Sommer C. Should Marching Band be Allowed to Replace Physical Education Credits: An Analysis. Physical Educator [serial online]. Fall2... (more »)

DGH Music replied...
Oct. 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm :
She's not trying to make a professional approach. Through her own research and personal edurings, she's concluded that she believes marching band should indeed be considered a sport. And she didn't just say it was on tv, Drum Corps International events are broadcasted annually on the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN). So, that completely supports her statement and nullifies yours. It's a simple article she wrote about how marching band, with or without stati... (more »)
Jon H. replied...
Nov. 2, 2012 at 11:15 am :
Are you even in a marching band? No? I didn't think so either. You really have to be in it to understand why it's a sport.
Ella-Loba replied...
Nov. 5, 2012 at 8:41 am :
The point of the article was that it is not validated by just word of mouth. The author has experienced whis first hand as have many people posting on this article. Please tell me, have you ever been in a marching band? Or even a concert band in high school or after? To not have been in one is to critcize and call those who have been liars without ever having faced it yourself. I have personally been a part of many sports throughout my life including basketball and the amount of physical work an... (more »)
Ella-Loba replied...
Nov. 5, 2012 at 8:44 am :
Also I did my own research on this subject as well. "(Reuters Health) - The physical challenges and demands of participating in a competitive high school marching band are similar to those experienced by athletes who compete in sports like football, according to research presented at the American College of Sports Medicine's annual meeting in Seattle." I found this on the website (more »)
Nechochwen replied...
Apr. 20, 2013 at 10:46 pm :
I appreciate the study that you conducted and I looked it up. However, there is one MAJOR flaw in your analysis: you studied university marching band members. How can you suppose that high school students are not qualified for a PE credit when studying a completely different sample? High school marching band is completely different than college. High school requires much more time (2-3 hours, not 1 per day) and physical activity (more aerobics, stretching, calisthentics, etc) than college band. ... (more »)
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dyeom said...
Jan. 3, 2012 at 9:36 pm:
I do marching band and I played a variety of sports and now I am playing rugby. I do think marching band is a sport. You have to memorize 80 plus pages of drill and about four to five sheets of music. While you're doing that you have to make sure you are using proper marching technique which is not easy at all. The amount of hours put into practice exceeds all other sports iv been in and in about a month I'm pretty sure we had clocked almost 200 hours. Marching band demands focus and precision l... (more »)
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redsox3465 said...
Oct. 13, 2011 at 10:45 pm:
you do realize that espn televises the world series of poker...
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drums/clarinet said...
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...u... (more »)

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student said...
Sept. 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,... (more »)

SPosty replied...
Nov. 1, 2011 at 2:14 pm :
Ok, so here's some statistics, I have seen at least 5 people come close to heat stroke and pass out during band camp and parades, eat that...
student replied...
Nov. 1, 2011 at 2:31 pm :
I'm looking for scientific know like percentages? Ps- I have a friend who puked at mb. Trust me, I know it's physically straining.
TYBASEDGOD replied...
Oct. 20, 2012 at 9:25 pm :
I feel like you are very right but also very wrong.... In my marching band and I'm sure in others too, we actually run.... As punishment, conditioning, ect.. So it not only requires different skills like memorizing a million things, doing 10 things at once, knowing EVERYTHING about music and the instrument you play, etc... But it requires a high level of physical fitness. Have you watched any college bands perform? They literally sprint all over the field while playing, roll stepping, e... (more »)
flutastic replied...
Nov. 3, 2012 at 12:52 pm :
in our mb, it's a good practice if less than 15 ppl pass out and/or throw up. 
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OneToughMuffin said...
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... (more »)
ohokay replied...
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.
drumminglulcat replied...
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?
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ScreenName1 said...
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 diff... (more »)

ScreenName1 replied...
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.

Ccclemmmer replied...
Sept. 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.
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ZeeBYoung said...
Jun. 29, 2011 at 5:07 pm:
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...
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