Is Marching Band a Sport?

For many people, the answer is a definite no, but who’s to decide what’s a sport and what’s not? What really makes a sport, a sport?

As someone who is in a marching band, I can testify that, despite what most people think, marching band requires a lot of hard work and dedication, as well as time itself. Practice usually begins in the middle of August and can require anywhere from 8-12 hours of physical exertion in excruciating heat. Not only is the heat hard to bear, but it is also difficult to stand and carry your instrument for a long period of time. Band camp really makes me take sitting down for granted sometimes. 

Marching bands don’t just play for entertainment reasons, they also compete against one another. Annual marching competitions give different bands the chance to find out who has the best performance. Judges assess bands on their marching, playing, and general level of cool.

Playing an instrument and marching at the same time requires skill, and standing and lifting an instrument for hours on end isn’t easy either. Trust me, holding a sousaphone (tuba) for that long is extremely difficult. There are also competitions, so there is a competitive side to it. Therefore, marching band does technically check out as a sport, but there is still a whole other side to the debate. 

A common argument people use to reject marching band as a sport is grouping it with other sports. For example, someone may list baseball, basketball and marching band. They will then say, “which one does not fit?”. Well, it is pretty obvious that marching band does not fit, but why? Is it because there are no balls being thrown around? But what about sports like track and swimming? Are they excluded as well?

Many people associate sports with some sort of ball being tossed around, especially here in America where football, baseball and basketball are so huge. Not only does marching band not have a ball to throw, but it does have an artistic aspect to it that no other “sport” has. Therefore, it makes sense for it to be put in its own category. Although marching band has “physical exertion”, it is more focused on the artistic aspect of creating a fun and beautiful performance. 

In conclusion, I personally believe that marching band is a sport, but only to a certain extent. Putting football and marching band side by side and saying they are both sports on the same level is difficult for me to accept. Although I agree with points on both sides of the argument, I think I stand somewhere in the middle when it comes to the question of whether it is a sport or not. 

So what do you think? Is marching band a sport? Comment below.


Editor Emeritus at The City Voice | MIPA Honorable Mention Award Winner

Hello everyone. I am a 12th grader this year at City and this is my second year at the City Voice. I love to write about sports, science and sometimes even other topics. I hope you are enjoying our City Voice articles!

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