Marching Band Should Be Considered a Sport

April 15, 2008
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 167 comments. Post your own now!

Taco pizza said...
Sept. 23, 2014 at 3:23 pm
It is not a sport because it is a music group
MarykThis 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...
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.
MarykThis 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...
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 »)
MarykThis 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...
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 »)
MarykThis 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...
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 »)
MarykThis 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...
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. 
band geek replied...
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.
MarykThis 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. said...
Sept. 5, 2014 at 11:31 am
As a musican I feel as if marching band being classified as a sport takes away the artisty and creativity and replaces it with too many rules and points. When the brass corp the Boston Cusaders did a show that had a disatster/rebilding theme they got a lost point for puting baby powder on the field. Marching bands should be more like Blast and less like the NFL, and its ok to speak out-Mary K
NHSBandGeek2252 said...
Jun. 8, 2014 at 9:38 am
I am in a marching band in Pennsylvania. My band may not be a competition band or a particularly good band, but we still work just as hard as any other athlete. Great job on the article! These reasons for marching band being a sport are phenomenal!. I have been trying to tell people for years that marching band is a sport, so I am going to use this as one of my article reviews in the classroom! Love it!
Karen said...
May 6, 2014 at 12:16 pm
I was a member of marching band in high school so I love your idea and I agree everything. I played alto saxophone, its very heavy and I used many mascles so I think marching band is a sport. Also I got some art credit in my school!  
emmamusic replied...
Jun. 20, 2014 at 11:48 am
Alto is not heavy at all, try a marching euphonium  16lbs held out in front of you for hours in those practices.  btw you spelled muscles wrong but whatever i agree that everything she said was true.
EmmaleeOsman replied...
Nov. 4, 2014 at 12:13 am
Hey, the alto is physically challenging, we have the neck strap which cause a very bad kink and sore, and have you ever tried propping one of those bad boys up with just your thumb to get the correct visual effect. All instruments have their challenges so don't try saying that kind of stuff please.
FlamingTrumpet1482 said...
May 1, 2014 at 3:46 pm
I'm in the Valley Center High School Jaguar Marching Band. I know just how difficult it is to be in a marching band. Trust me, I know. Being a freshmen in high school, and having been in two different marching bands, and not having gone to band camp. In fact, my school is preparing for the Western Days Parade to hopefully go to Disneyland this year. I think it should be considered a sport having in mind that golf is considered a sport when there is almost any movement. Sure you hace to conce... (more »)
Band is stupid said...
May 1, 2014 at 2:07 pm
legend_of_link replied...
Jul. 5, 2014 at 3:36 pm
did you even read the article, because now you are making yourself sound eneducated.
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