Is marching band a sport?


Photo by Thea Wang

Junior Vicky Yang, a color guard captain, practicing right before the homecoming game performance. In the past months leading up to the homecoming football game, color guard put in a lot of effort in order to throw a splendid performance. They started practices along with hornline two weeks before school even started so that they could learn and perfect their techniques.

Suchita Hadimani, Staff Writer

The time has come to answer the age old question: is marching band a sport?

A sport is defined by Oxford dictionary as, “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.”

Marching band meets all of these criteria. For one thing, it is just as physically taxing as any other conventional sport. In marching band, participants have to march with their shoulders always facing the front (unless they are turned back field) which means their upper bodies have to face the front while their lower bodies have to twist in the direction they wish to go in. This may sound easy, but it is actually difficult and uncomfortable. Posture is also very important in having a tall, forward presence. In addition to maintaining posture, they have to create various formations, which takes lots of practice. Shows are usually ten minutes long, and they  require a lot of stamina as well as the ability to sustain a good posture and marching technique. Most marchers end up sweating after a show simply because of the physical intensity of the activity.

The struggle does not end at marching. What makes marching band truly difficult is the fact that one has to march while  playing an instrument. Carrying heavy instruments like the contra and sousaphone is a huge pain, and makes marching  more taxing than it already is. Even for those with light weight instruments, playing and marching is tough because they have to blow into their instruments to make music instead of using the air for themselves. To make the song sound beautiful and lyrical, one must control his/her breath , which is challenging because your body might need air at points where it may not be optimal to breathe in musically. It takes real skill to be in marching band.

The colour guard is another part of marching band which requires just as much skill, if not more. . If you think throwing, spinning, and catching a six-foot pole is easy, you may want to think again. The guard not only spins flags, they also dance and perform complicated choreography to enhance the theme of the show.

Marching band is just as competitive as other sports, competing against schools in the area as well as schools across the country in Bands Of America competitions. In the past competition, Jefferson marching band placed 6th out of 20th.

Marching band is entertaining to audience members as they create mesmerizing formations and playing wonderful music. Props, backdrops, and colour guard all make the performance fun and captivating to watch. Additionally, marching fits into the definition of a sport, thus fitting it into the category of sports.