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 167 comments.


ThePinkFlute said...
on Jul. 2 2013 at 3:28 pm
I wish my school would do that then everyone would have to go to one of our practices. Us marchers work a lot and they don't appreciate us.

on Jun. 26 2013 at 6:45 pm
I agree, at my highschool we have 4 blocks, and marching band countgs as my phys ed too

on Jun. 5 2013 at 7:38 pm
Band kids have to hold up their instrument properly (horn angle), AND watch the drum major, AND count, AND keep intervals with the people around them, AND have seven or more minutes of music memorized and accessible in their brains (not to mention the players that have solos), AND march correctly (roll step), all while playing their instrument. All of that would be impossible for a normal person to manage without the months of training it takes to achieve, not to mention the years of practice it takes just to begin to be able to PLAY their instrument.  AND just remembering to bring all of the required equipment in general  (hat box, instrument, marching shoes, black socks, hair ties, valve oil, cork grease, reeds, mouthpiece, neck strap, in some cases music and stands, etc.). Lugging all of that stuff around is hard enough. And don't think we never practice. Most bands that are worth watching spend weeks practicing before school even starts, and to add to that, we practice after school 3-4 days a week (not including sectionals). Not to mention that all of this is in the hot summer heat, and in a full uniform, with socks up to our knees and funny looking hats on our heads, sweating like pigs, but still managing to do all of the physical and mental work required to perform our shows. And  this is just Marching Band. You don't even want to hear me talk about Drum Corps. We do all of this, while continuing to be mocked by our peers, and people like you who don't understand what they're talking about and have never BEEN in band/marching band. That takes determination and dedication, much more than a gymnist or football player who gets rewarded socially and even monetarilly by their oblivious peers. Sorry for ranting, but I'm tired of BS.

Emmy~Char said...
on May. 16 2013 at 12:03 am
At my school Marching band is our phys ed. And I play trumpet, it doesn't weigh that much, but holding it in the position hurts sometimes. I don't really understand why people think band geeks are weird.? We work almost as hard as the football players. It isn't the football field, it's the marching band field.

Emmy~Char said...
on May. 15 2013 at 11:58 pm
Gymnastics may be tough at times, but you don't have to play an insturment do you? unless you're doing rhythmic gymnastics, which btw isn't that hard, I would know. And you're not in a heater (Uniform) like marching band uniforms. Lol.

Nechochwen said...
on 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. I suggest a new study that includes high school marching band (BOA quality) students and see if it confirms or denies your research. Then you can say if a student deserves a PE credit in high school or not.

svage29flee said...
on Apr. 19 2013 at 11:34 am
what i really want is for ESPN to feature DCI again ...

gymnastics said...
on Apr. 18 2013 at 12:02 am
GYMNASTICS TAKES MORE MULTITASKING THAN MARCHING BAND WILL EVER HAVE. they can actually defy gravity and do cool things, while also keeping time to music

cosmopaige said...
on Mar. 20 2013 at 10:25 pm
I have a daughter in Colorguard/Winterguard/Marching Band, and her team is never recognized and never considered in a local newspaper or any sports article. It is BS that it's not recognized more. The kids totally deserve the recognition.

palor said...
on Feb. 24 2013 at 8:44 am
My school counts marching band as a fine arts credit and a sports credit. I'm sure you can do it!

simmerssc said...
on Feb. 17 2013 at 3:57 pm
Hi, i am also in marching band and i was writing an essay to give to my school board to get marching band to count as a gym credit/sport and i wanted to know where you found "As a study shows, football players"...

cloudninja said...
on Jan. 30 2013 at 6:18 pm
I am marching band too and I say this is a true statement.

lilflute14 said...
on Jan. 17 2013 at 11:48 am
Dont forget how we have to get to the exact spot that your next set is supposed to be in. athletes can change their mind and do whatever they need  to do to get their job done they have  many options we have to make sure we do everything THE specific way there is no free styling you have to be in step dressed and covered why playing your music PROPERLY. What do foot ball players get to do during their game......... drink water. What do we do when we are thirsty or tired during a performan SUCK IT UP AND GET OVER IT!!! 

on Dec. 4 2012 at 8:30 pm
I almost fainted twice this year, once last year. In gym, during the summer, when it was 90 degrees, the football players couldn't take it, but thanks to band camp, it was too easy...

on Nov. 5 2012 at 8:44 am
Ella-Loba SILVER, Wichita, Kansas
7 articles 0 photos 2 comments
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 http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/06/02/us-marching-sports-idUSTRE5514O420090602?feedType=RSS&feedName=healthNews go look it up.

on Nov. 5 2012 at 8:41 am
Ella-Loba SILVER, Wichita, Kansas
7 articles 0 photos 2 comments
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 and dedication was nothing compared to the 4 years I've been in marching band. Not to mention  the amount of time one has to give up just to make the band sound "average" and "average is never good enough. Go watch the documentary "Throw It Down" of the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle corps.  People come from all over the world just to be in that corpse, even Japan. Or even "The Pride of Broken Arrow" a documentary on the Broken Arrow Marching Band. Either will show you just how much it takes to be in a marching band. People think "oh it's so easy, all you have to do is play music and walk around the feild." No! To even begin to get a good rating in compitition all members have to memorize thier music and thier sets, where they have to be on the field, they have to remember what other visual effects that the director has thrown in like horn pops, dancing, or even slower marching pace, they also have to keep their horn angles us, from the brass having to keep thier horns at an angle above the bottom of the stands all the way through the flutes. Here's a secret, even the flutes horn angle is hard to keep, trust me I know! To have correct horn angle on a flute is to have the whole insturment completly parralel to the ground. On top of horn angles and music you also have to learn how to properly march weither its the traditional roll step or the style of marching that bands like USC use. Oh by the way, do you know what USC is famous for? THEIR MARCHING BAND! To keep a marching band sounding good you also have to blend and balance with the rest of the band even if you are 50+ yards away! Marching band compititions are much more rigoruous than any sports compitition as well due to the fact that in sports you are on the field with the opposing team. In marching band you are up against many other marching bands not just one, add on top of that the fact that with you on the same feild in sports you can physically do womething to the other team to make them you better than them, in a marching cometition the only thing you can do to be better is be better as a band than the others, you can't do anything to physically stop them or make them  worse. So go ahead tell me that marching band doens't require more physical or mental strength than any sport in the world.

on Nov. 4 2012 at 6:18 pm
TARDISdriver PLATINUM, Colorado Springs, Colorado
28 articles 2 photos 33 comments
THanks! I play clarinet

on Nov. 4 2012 at 6:17 pm
TARDISdriver PLATINUM, Colorado Springs, Colorado
28 articles 2 photos 33 comments
thanks! I play clarinet    

OceanStorm said...
on Nov. 3 2012 at 11:13 pm
OceanStorm, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
0 articles 0 photos 6 comments
That's true, good point.  Love your username by the way.  What instrument do you play?

on Nov. 3 2012 at 12:58 pm
fushiablue BRONZE, New Carlisle, Ohio
2 articles 0 photos 9 comments
in our school, if someone says "mb is easy" then they have to go thru a day of band camp and a practice with us.  


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