Homestead High School's student newspaper

The Epitaph

Homestead High School's student newspaper

The Epitaph

Homestead High School's student newspaper

The Epitaph

POV: Should marching band be considered a sport?

There are numerous sports in the athletic department – including soccer, football and swimming – but marching band is not one of them. Epitaph reporters Mackie Vu and Catherine Yang discuss their views on whether marching band should be considered a sport.

Marching band can be considered its own sport because it participates in competitions with other bands. (Photo by Malar Raguraman)

 

Mackie: Marching band clarinet

I have been in the marching band for three years and plan to continue it senior year. Although it only takes up the fall season, my whole life revolves around marching band because most of my friends are also in it. 

At the beginning of last year’s marching band season, we had an icebreaker activity where members would move to a side of the gym depending on whether they agreed with each statement presented. In the beginning, the statements were lighthearted and basic, but towards the end of this activity, a statement immediately caught my attention: “Marching band is a sport.”

After people had time to gather their thoughts, I saw a significant group of people settle into the side of the gym to disagree with the statement and I wondered whether we were undermining our efforts in our commitment.

Although marching band may seem inherently different from other sports, there are many similarities in its preparation. 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 Languages. I will break down this definition into two central aspects: physical and competitive.

While marching band is rewarding and enjoyable, I have found it to be highly demanding, with 14 hours of practice every week, excluding the weeks with competitions, football games and overnight stays. The time that takes up most of the season differs as the season progresses, but they always include physical and mental challenges to overall achieve the goal of uniformity. 

Apart from learning and perfecting the field show, we do other activities to strengthen our bodies such as running laps which we usually do at the beginning of every practice. This satisfies the physical part of a sports’ definition. 

Additionally, the marching band does not exclusively play for the football team. Since my first year as a marcher, football games have only been seen as a side event, never the reason why marching band exists. This makes marching band more of a sport because it is not an accompaniment, but rather an activity that can exist without football.

The main focus is the competitions where we travel and compete against other high schools with the field show, a coordinated musical and visual performance the band spends the whole season perfecting. The competitive aspect of marching band agrees with the definition of a sport: having a clear winner in a competition.

Whether people consider marching band a sport or not, I will value the experiences I gained from it. Like many if not all team sports, most of my friends are from my first year as a marcher and the lessons I learned about working as a team stem from it. To fully grasp whether marching band qualifies as a sport or not, one should gain firsthand experience by joining the marching band.

 

Catherine: Varsity girls basketball player 

Sports involve physical exertion, competition and a structured set of rules determining a winning or a losing side. Some common examples that use this structure include volleyball, basketball and tennis. While marching band does involve physical activity, it lacks certain elements that define traditional sports.

Even though marching band, Equestriettes, cheer and other similar activities give you sports credit, this does not qualify them as actual sports because of their lower standards, easier competitions and relatively straightforward process. 

Since the beginning of the girl’s basketball season, our team has been working more than 12 hours a week together, creating a supportive environment. We train hard to push each other to higher heights. In marching band, people of the same instrument or section work by themselves before coming together as a whole. 

This seems more individual, which is drastically different from a team sport. Although some may seem individual like swimming and gymnastics, there is still a large team component to it. For these sports, the entire team trains together for everything rather than just for competitions. 

Another difference between marching band and real sports is the competition aspect. Normally, teams or individuals face off in real time, striving to outperform and outmaneuver the other team. In contrast, a band is a prepared performance that focuses on creativity and synchronization. There are not any real-time team-on-team games as there are in traditional sports. 

Sports matches typically involve a level of unpredictability due to the changing circumstances and performance-based results. Athletes often have to adjust their strategy constantly to win because they do not know what their opponents will do. On the other hand, marching band competitions are prepared and therefore there is not an aspect of on-the-fly decisions. 

Generally, marching band’s pressure and requirements are significantly less than in real sports. Once you get put into a game setting, the pressure to perform becomes overwhelming: your brain is immediately put into overdrive as you try to figure out what the “right” move to do. But in marching band, the sense of urgency is not present. Everything that you do has been prepared and has been made sure to be ingrained in your mind. 

Finally, the intensity and nature of physical exertion in sports often push athletes to their limits in a way that distinguishes their training and conditioning from that of marching band participants. In reality, there is not much movement in the marching band despite its name. People walk in with their green robes, walk around in their performance, play their pieces in sync and then march right back out. 

In contrast, during basketball practices and games, we have to run the entire time while playing. The only times of rest are between exercises or during water breaks. This difference in physical exertion is magnitudes apart. 

Although each sport is unique, there are so many differences between these two types of activities that make it evident that marching band does not fit the conventional criteria of a sport. Instead, it stands as a unique and rewarding form of artistic expression that offers its own set of challenges and rewards.

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About the Contributors
Mackie Vu, Design Editor
Reaching the supposed hardest year of high school, Mackie is pumped for his second year with The Epitaph. Apart from working in the exhilarating class as a design editor, you can find the junior spending time with his friends when he can and in the fall, stressing over his messy schedule when he partakes in the HHS marching band. Mackie will attempt to take the design of the newspaper to new limits while having a matcha latte in hand. 
Catherine Yang, Reporter
Catherine is a sophomore, and this is her first year on The Epitaph staff. She looks forward to capturing moments through photography and learning the unique stories of the HHS community. Catherine loves playing basketball, piano and drinking boba. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and trying unorthodox activities such as tubing, zip lining and white water rafting.
Malar Raguraman, Reporter
Malar is a sophomore and a first-year staffer on The Epitaph. She looks forward to communicating her beliefs and opinions to the HHS community. Malar wants to learn about unique perspectives and is super excited to join the paper. She enjoys listening to Broadway soundtracks, reading, running, doodling, collecting erasers and searching for new experiences.

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