In the Halloween season, one question haunts us all: Is marching band a sport?
For ages, one issue has plagued the minds of the youth of America. Across the nation, one question has tormented all throughout the midnight hours and into the morning light. Is marching band a sport?
“No,” eloquently states Marcus Sass (10).
Sass is a varsity football player and thus has first-hand knowledge of how grueling and time consuming a sport can be.
“[The] practices are pretty physical… Football is pretty exhausting honestly. After practice, you can’t do much. You gotta do your homework and you just fall right asleep.”
While Sass views his sport as exhausting, his definition of a sport on the other hand, is quite lax.
“A sport is a…competition between two atheletes, at least.”
However, this is not what Sass sees in marching band.
“Honestly, I don’t really think marching band is a sport because…they’re just playing [music].”
Obviously, marching band students vehemently disagree. This is especially true for Maria Aguirre (11), a section leader in the band.
“If football and dancing had a baby, it would be marching band,” she stated.
Clearly, marching students see band as the peak of physical exertion, but what do they have to back up their claim?
“[Students] have to carry big instruments and that takes a lot of strength, and they have to march around the field a lot. We have to keep our knees straight while we’re backwards marching. You have to worry about all of these things and of course that takes a lot of strength.” In addition to this, Aguirre claims that “sometimes, [competitions] can go up to…twenty four hours.”
Pulling all nighters is impressive, but is that enough strain to qualify band as a sport? Marching band director Richard Wong weighed in with his opinion.
“[Marching band] is an athletic type of endeavor, but not necessarily, I would say, a sport.”
This discrepancy between the band director and his students undermined the argument that the students had been cultivating for years. It didn’t help that Wong then proceeded to prosecute the defense with cold, hard evidence.
“If a sport is a contest of one person or team versus another team, marching bands don’t go head to head with another team…There’s no head to head, the judging is different…If all the marching bands in the class did the exact same field show, music, and drill,…then I think that would be more sportlike in nature.”
With this answer, it seemed like the marching band question had finally been put to bed. The populace of America would be able to rest; the elusive eight hours of sleep would finally be achieved. Unfortunately, Mr. Blackmon, coach of the varsity football team and the man who was supposed to put the final nail in the coffin, breathed new life into the controversy.
“I respect exactly what the band does…I don’t understand why it wouldn’t be considered a sport.”
It brings serious doubt to the case of the non-sport camp when the coach of the most sportlike sport defects to the opposite side. However, his opinion might be biased.
“I used to play the trumpet when I was younger, and I gave it up because it got too hard.”
Has Mr. Blackmon’s opinion been tainted by his trumpet playing experience? It may be impossible to tell, but it certainly adds another layer of complexity to the equation.
So is marching band a sport? In the words of cross country coach Mr. Carel,
“That’s a really hard question.”
Caption: Percussionists perform for parents during the end of band camp barbeque. Marching Band students participate in a band camp during their summer vacation to condition themselves for the marching season. “My shoulders have never been more swole than now.” says marching band student Athen Tang (10). “You know, lifting a baritone for two hours isn’t fun. If I go back to cross country I won’t be able to lift a baritone for two hours ever again.”
Pc: Abigail R. Cromie (11)