True or False: Marching Band is a sport

January 3, 2011 — by Allison Toh and Stanley Yip

Without a question, band members spend many hours practicing and attending competitions. Their hard effort has led members to believe band qualifies as a sport; participants even receive PE credit for taking this elective. However, others outside of band feel differently, which has led to numerous debates if band should be considered as a sport.

“I know a lot of people claim that it’s not a sport because they’ve never tried it,” said junior mellophone player Connie Wang. “But if you try it, it’s really tiring.”

The marching band is mainly recognized for its halftime shows, which entertain the crowd during football season. Its season lasts from mid-August to around the end of November.

“People are like, ‘Oh you just walk around the field’ but it’s actually fast paced,” Wang said. “You have to run up ramps, jump down from stuff, pose, and play music at the same time so it’s actually a lot harder than what everybody thinks.”

However, some members see band as more of an activity that has some athletic aspects.

“It just take up a lot of time, probably even more than other sports,” sophomore Todd Nguyen, a saxophone player, said. “We’re still doing exercise, but not as much as other sports. It’s not as hard as like, track or swimming.”

Nguyen, who also swims, explained that because of the immense amount of strenuous conditioning required from swimming, he sees the warm-ups in band as simple exercises.

Freshman Rohan Hardikar thinks differently. A soccer and band member, Hardikar feels as if band requires the same amount of athleticism as any other sport.

“You do a lot of physical activity along with playing [instruments] because you march around,” said Hardikar. “You have to put a lot of effort into it. Band has Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday rehearsals, which is pretty much your entire fall season gone towards band.”

Other than physical ability, Hardikar also said that band requires the same, or even a greater, amount of mental thinking as other sports.

Senior football player Greg Johnson thinks that although band puts many hours into what they do, it should not be considered a sport since it lacks the degree of physical intensity as other sports.

“I greatly respect [the band] for playing at games,” Johnson said. “But I can’t say it’s a sport because they don’t put themselves through what other athletes have to go through.”

To be considered a sport, Johnson said a particular activity must have a goal to strive for, but must also have competition and the sense of unity or family within the team.

“[Band members] don’t really know what it feels like to share the brotherhood or family that other sports feel because band has so many people in it,” Johnson said.

While its qualification as a sport is fiercely debated among students, marching band remains as one of the most popular activities on campus.

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