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.

emmamusic said...
on Jun. 20 2014 at 11:54 am
It totally does!

emmamusic said...
on 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.

on 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!

on Jun. 8 2014 at 9:34 am
I am a marching band member and a cheerleader. Cheerleaders also work just as hard as any sports team, including marching band, does. They have to be able to hold up a 100 pound or heavier girl for any amount of time, and have to have so much balance and discipline! Try doing all that in addition to marching band!

Karen said...
on 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!  

on 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 concentrate alot, but you have to do even more than that while marching, playing, counting, guiding, and lining. :/

on May. 1 2014 at 2:07 pm

on Mar. 14 2014 at 1:49 pm
IsaacCuomo BRONZE, Greeley, Pennsylvania
1 article 0 photos 3 comments
I agree it is hard to play an instrument and it takes a lot more effort than some other sports but I dont think it should be a national sport

on Mar. 13 2014 at 11:44 am
I am from Minnesota and we do our half time shows on the streets for competition. some times we have 2 parades a day and almost every week we have 4 or more parades to deal with. We do our show typically around 3 - 4 times per parade and parades typically last between 45 minutes to 1 and a half hours. shows last between 6 - 7 minutes, Plus we have to memorize another song to play in between shows. It is such a competition hear that we hve things called band festivals where instead of a parade, marching bands come to compete against eachother. We even have sections (i.e. 4A, 3A, 2A, 2A). We have what is considered a state parade that hosts about 40 bands. If you want to look it up, google Vikingland Band festival. we have 12 hour practices for a week straight.

on Mar. 13 2014 at 9:19 am
I'm in a SC marching band and I totally think we should be considered a sport.Look even cheerleading is considered a sport and they just jump around yelling at people

on Mar. 10 2014 at 7:30 pm
TaylorWintry DIAMOND, Carrollton, Texas
72 articles 0 photos 860 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Never fear shadows. They simply mean there's a light shining somewhere nearby." - Unknown

It counts as a PE credit at my school.

on Mar. 10 2014 at 7:30 pm
TaylorWintry DIAMOND, Carrollton, Texas
72 articles 0 photos 860 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Never fear shadows. They simply mean there's a light shining somewhere nearby." - Unknown

I'm in a Texas marching band. Way to represent!!! (: So many people say it's not a sport and I can never think of how to prove it to them that it IS. That ESPN thing really hit home! Awesome job.

Thomas_r2 said...
on Jan. 30 2014 at 10:48 pm
I am a member of a marching band in NY! I love your article and I agree with everything. We have more trophies than the football team and are told when we can and can't breathe

RoMojo said...
on Oct. 29 2013 at 1:40 pm
Hey, great article, I was wondering where are your these studies located? I'm writing a speech on why marching band is harder than people think,  and I need some sources. This is good stuff!

cliffie11 said...
on Sep. 30 2013 at 9:46 am
it is not a sport it goes through the music program not hte sports program  

LegionOfLife said...
on Sep. 3 2013 at 10:09 pm
Yes! I am in the lincoln East marching band and i was having an argument about this with my football friends. lol i will print this out and show them.

music11 said...
on Aug. 17 2013 at 6:40 pm
I would love to see you try to hold a 20-40 pound instrament for 30 minutes (AT LEAST). While actualy PLAYING music, and its so much more than that. UltimatePowaaa did'nt even explain 1/12th of what we have to do. I don't know what your even talking about. Gymnastics... You have to twirl yourself around, watch where your hands, and feet are, and maybe you have to count music, but we do too. Seiriously. try not even looking at your hands and feet. Come on.

Pish said...
on Aug. 14 2013 at 5:02 pm
I don't think you're being fair to other athletes and yes, I have survived band camp and yes, I am a varsity athlete. Football, soccer, baseball, these are all land sports and no, they can't always free style it, there are tactics that go into the game play which the entire team comes up with. They remember that play and try to follow it through best they can, plus keeping in time? Honey have you ever heard of Crew/Rowing? The oar movement is all in sync, if not the boat will turn/flip and you don't know how scary that is to be strapped in by the feet and have your boat capsize. As for paying attention to the drum major? That's keeping in time, rowers have a specific start they keep with at the beginning of each race, from then on out, it's up to the coxswain or our drum major if you'd please, to make sure we're together. Aha and water breaks? We're on water that's non drinkable with, unable to stop until or coach or coxswain says so. We've gone all practice without water with cut up hands and sore limbs because its not just your hands it's your legs too. You shouldn't say athletes don't understand, sure we spend just three hours each practice but that's 6 days(sometimes 7) a week. Don't say that we don't understand, there are just some sports, please accept, that work way harder than Marching Band. If you think otherwise, run eight miles for me, come back, give me a cardio session, and race pace performance.

Le Pish said...
on Aug. 14 2013 at 4:45 pm
Hi, I've been reading through some of the comments and really I just have to say, Marching Band is a sport, but it is not like a registered(physical like football etc.) sport. You see, many things are registered as a sport which can be argued about it's validity, like chess and NASCAR, and all that good stuff. Speaking as a band kid(alto/tenor sax) and as an athlete(varsity Rowing), the amount of physical work in band does not compete with the amount in rowing. Now, I'm surely going to get some heated arguments in this but know this, I've gone through both seasons and Marching Band does not make you run 4-8 miles, simply as a warm up. In band, we do not hold wall sits for 30 minuets, and we certainly do not carry 300 lb boats through long stretches of land. Of course, both require physical and mental endurance(some cases more than others), but it can be argued that the amount of effort displayed in band is a lot harder than some other sports. However, making the claim that Marching Band is harder than or works as hard as sports is not something an individual can make. Ask yourself, have you played that sport? Have you lived through what they lived through? They're not just some muscle heads throwing their weight around an acting like pompous idiots, this is life not television. Football players and many others multitask by planing out tactics, understanding their limits, just because we aren't holding an instrument doesn't mean we don't have as much skill as musicians. I've played several different instruments for over 10 years of my life, I've competed in both "sports", but understand, what's hard to you is easy to someone else. Marching Band is a sport, it's just a different kind of sport.

on Jul. 28 2013 at 2:20 am
TheSkyOwesMeRain GOLD, Irvine, California
13 articles 1 photo 303 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life isn't measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments which take your breath away.

You are only as strong as your weakest link.

Very inspirational and convincing! Great work!

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