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Color Guard is a Sport

11 hours each day in the August sun for five days straight, out on the field, learning drill (similar to football plays, perhaps?), learning work, and putting two and two together, all while staying in synchronized step, with a smile. This is what band camp is like for any member of my school’s color guard, and the color guards at most schools. For the guard at my school, rehearsals for the September school year started in July and were twice weekly leading up to band camp. We put in just as much effort as any why do most people think that color guard is not a sport?

A sport is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment,” according to Oxford. By that definition, is color guard a sport? Let’s break it down, starting with physical exertion and skill. Many people say that color guard is “easy;” all you’re doing is twirling a flag, right? Well, no, and even if we were, doing it with a weighted flag for several minutes while running around the field in step with everyone else, in time with the music, getting to the right place, and not hitting anyone else is incredibly difficult. However, along with doing drop spins, our work includes pull hits, swings, dancing, weapon work, and several kinds of tosses, to name a few things. Completing all of these successfully, especially tosses which you have to catch at the same time as the rest of the guard, and being able to do it for 5 to 7 minutes straight, requires timing, skill, strength, stamina, and cooperation, if you don’t want to get hit with a flag.

Next, the “team or individual competes” part. We are undoubtedly a team, and we have to be to avoid concussions from other member’s flags. If you’ve only ever seen a guard perform as part of a half-time show, you may not know that marching bands also compete in competitions. While color guard and band perform at the same time and get judged for their overall performance, the color guard also gets a separate score just judging them. All the bands and guards get judged, and yes, there are trophies. We may not be on the field at the same time as our competition, but we undoubtedly compete.

Finally, to be a sport, it has to be for the purpose of entertaining people. That is exactly what the color guard does. We have to half-time show to pump our school’s football team and entertain the crowd, with complex work and difficult drill that when viewed from above actually make shapes. It is a beautiful, incredible sight if executed correctly, and is surely pleasing for the crowd.

One essay I found stated that cheerleading should not be considered a sport because sports do not need to be “aesthetically pleasing.” By this standard, color guard would not be a sport. If you consider this standard, however, then gymnastics could not be considered a sport, which is obviously is, at least to the International Olympic Committee. If aesthetics aren’t an issue, then why is synchronized swimming an Olympic sport, as well as diving and figure skating? Aesthetics shouldn’t play a role in if something is considered a sport or not, and certainly should not prevent color guard (and competitive cheerleading) from being considered sports.

People will constantly come up with new arguments that color guard isn’t a sport, such as it isn’t painful (Ever been hit in the face with a metal rod? Not fun.), we have set work (Football players have plays like we have drill, but that’s still a sport), and in a sport you either get first or last and nothing in between (What about track and field? Or any tournament of any sport?), and every single argument have a rebuttal, due to the fact that color guard is a sport, and should be considered one. If I’ve not convinced you of that, and you believe it is “easy” and “not a sport,” I’m fine with that, but I recommend not telling your opinion to anyone in a color guard, or you will find out what it feels like to be hit in the face with a six-foot steel rod.

Join the Discussion

This article has 16 comments. Post your own now!

Frostie13 said...
today at 7:19 pm
Not only that, but when I was in guard we were required to run the mile every single day at our 8 hour practices. I was in track and cross country, and color guard was definitely the hardest yet. It requires tons of stamina. After we performed our show I was always out of breathe, exhausted, and extremely tired. Guard also does parades and my guard team personally was in the Macy's day parade. It was a great experience, but extremely exhausting to wake up at 2:00am then march while doing fl... (more »)
Whynot? said...
Jun. 14, 2016 at 11:38 pm
Color Guard is most definitely a sport... I don't know why it wouldn't be. You must consider how much more they go through. They even get letters for letterman jackets, obviously it's a sport.
Whynot? said...
Jun. 14, 2016 at 11:38 pm
Color Guard is most definitely a sport... I don't know why it wouldn't be. You must consider how much more they go through. They even get letters for letterman jackets, obviously it's a sport.
F u band girl said...
Jun. 12, 2016 at 1:00 pm
The only ppl who say it's a sport are people who do it lol
Guard is lameee said...
Jun. 12, 2016 at 12:54 pm
Guard is not a sport
Goat there:) said...
May 28, 2016 at 9:35 pm
It is an art NOT a sport
Guard Gal replied...
Dec. 1, 2016 at 10:14 am
How is it an art??? That makes no sense
idkrn said...
May 9, 2016 at 11:09 pm
Actually we have been on TV, did you see the Rose bowl parade in Pasadena?? I didn't see you, maybe that's because I was too busy smiling for the national television cameras. Where were you? probably sitting at home. So what sport do you do? Do you catch a football or do you run or swim? Ohh I bet you do something super hard like basketball or something. You guys catch and throw balls but we catch and throw people.
Emmamarie said...
Apr. 9, 2016 at 8:32 pm
Color guard is not a sport. Do you ever see color guard on tv ? On sports network ? On the olympics ? Or on ESPN? Or have its own channel ? No. Because it's not a sport. I'm in color guard and I understand being out in the sun but I also do softball which is An actual sport.
Liberty replied...
May 3, 2016 at 7:30 pm
Have you ever even seen DCI or WGI
colqrpixel replied...
May 9, 2016 at 2:42 pm
Like Liberty said, they have competitions(like WGI) that get broadcasted. They are only at certain times of the year(just like the Superbowl), so you probably don't hear about them.
Guard girl replied...
May 27, 2016 at 8:08 pm
Did you even check? WGI and DCI are on tv and we were on espn. Try going to a practice it will make you cry
It's Me:) replied...
May 28, 2016 at 9:33 pm
Marque replied...
Aug. 1, 2016 at 7:23 am
Color guard is indeed a sport, as it involves physical strength and trained mentality. In certain debates, I heard that sport is two or more individuals or teams competing each other, well same as color guard, there are individual and team categories as well. I dont get why people, after decades of years knowing color guard, they said its not a sport, wven sports is considered and activity, duhhhh.
pineappleprincess said...
Nov. 20, 2014 at 2:46 pm
i loved this peice! i found it infromal and entertaining! i am in the high school colorguard and have fought this arguement several times. i found it hilarious how you ended it. keep up the amazing work!
BrutalSapphire said...
Sept. 22, 2014 at 10:32 am
I completely agree. I am also in Colorguard myself, and I love it so much! I'm glad someone else thinks it's a sport haha
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